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Struggling Batsmen Need Time -- Vettori

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Daniel Vettori
Daniel Vettori

By Chris Barclay of NZPA

Colombo, Sept 13 NZPA - New Zealand will persevere with their underperforming batsmen in the hope they will implement the lessons gleaned from their disappointing cricket tour of Sri Lanka.

New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in their two Twenty20 matches but none of the recognised batsmen scored a century during the 2-0 test series defeat, or in the Tri Series one-day internationals.

The heavy defeats by Sri Lanka and India in the Tri Series saw New Zealand slide from fourth to a provisional seventh on the International Cricket Council (ICC) ODI rankings.

New Zealand now head for South Africa to prepare for the Champions Trophy from September 22 to October 5.

Asked if he felt the young brigade had advanced their cricketing education on this tour, Vettori didn't mince words.

"If you take it from the point of view of performances we'd have to say we haven't learnt anything," Vettori said.

"(But) I'm sure if you spoke to the guys individually they're starting to understand their games a bit more."

New Zealand were always expected to struggle in the test series against Sri Lanka but Vettori would have expected a remodelled limited overs squad to be more competitive in the Twenty20 and ODI component of the five-week tour.

Beating the World Twenty20 runners-up twice in their own backyard at R Premadasa Stadium was intended to be a stepping stone for the Tri-Series and then the Champions Trophy in Johannesburg and Centurion.

Instead, an ineffectual batting order consistently undermined Vettori's sterling service and the bowling of a resurrected Shane Bond.

Against India in their must-win ODI on Friday it appeared New Zealand were the team that had been in country only three days -- not more than a month.

After winning a crucial toss New Zealand were only able to muster 155 -- a target India's strokemakers ticked off with relative ease.

Vettori obviously identified batting as the major deficiency when reflecting on a tour that designated him as the sole centurion.

His career-best 140 during the second test defeat looms large among a collection of inadequate top and middle order batting cards.

The skipper often had to shore up his side from No 8 in a batting order that guaranteed plenty of time in the middle for the left hander.

New Zealand's batting unit continues to frustrate but Vettori feels they need to be persevered with.

Vettori, who will help select the ODI team to play Pakistan next month, said after the test defeats that faith had to be shown in the likes of Tim McIntosh and Daniel Flynn.

He applied the same rationale after the two ODI matches where Grant Elliott's 41 against Sri Lanka was the highest individual score.

Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill contributed only 55 between them from eight innings, an unacceptable return after more than a month of acclimatising to the subcontinent's slower pitches.

Still, the quartet are all safe. Guptill would be the only player at risk but he will be given an extended run in the hope he has absorbed some tough lessons in his first senior tour of Sri Lanka.

Undeniably talented, the 22-year-old invariably started smoothly before contributing to his own downfall through a lack of patience and flawed short selection -- notably the pull.

Thilan Samaraweera, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara showed how to survive and accumulate on their pitches but whether their examples have been absorbed might only be apparent when the team tour India next year.

Barring a clean out, the current batting unit will be on that trip and the following year's World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"I still see this group as a very talented group and one that can be a successful batting unit for New Zealand for a long time," Vettori said.

"We have to keep giving them chances and keep hoping they improve, you have high hopes for them.

"You see the hard work that goes in and you want them to put performances in the paddock."

Hopefully, for Vettori, those performances will materialise once the team arrives in South Africa on Tuesday.

New Zealand play practice matches against the Eastern Cape Warriors and India before their first group B match against South Africa at Centurion on September 24.

They then face Sri Lanka at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on the 27th before playing England.


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