My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Black Caps Indian tour wrap-up

on October 30, 2016

Well, that was disappointing.

The New Zealand Black Caps full test and One Day International tour of India finished yesterday with the fifth (and deciding, I might add!) ODI played in Visakhapatnam.  And sadly, yet again on this tour, the result of the game came down to the toss of a coin.

Like the Black Caps showed in the fourth ODI when they were finally able to win a coin toss and bat first, the pitch slowed up and was more difficult to bat on for the team batting second.  Not quite 79 not out, difficult, though, I am sure … but still, had the roles been reversed, and it been India who were struggling to bat second in Visakhapatnam, would we be critiquing them as harshly as we are critiquing the Black Caps now?

Just a thought.

Sadly though, this tour came down to the difference in the teams, which for my mind, was the brilliant batting of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli (who I’m quite surprised was not named Man of the Series; he was definitely the difference as far as I was concerned).  What our Black Caps really needed was this confident and solid backbone in the middle of their batting order which, ordinarily would be strong in Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, as they have been for us in the past.  Maybe it is too much to expect Williamson to be the captain of the team in all three formats of the game just yet, or maybe Taylor is still just at a loss after the passing of his close friend and mentor, Martin Crowe, earlier this year.  We don’t really know what is going on in the players’ heads and can’t possibly know unless we talk to them ourselves, but I do know for sure that they are gutted and hurting after this tour.

And rightly so, as they will only be focussing right now on the last match that was played.  But if they take a step back, in a couple of days, they will see that there were a few things they can take away and be proud of from touring one of the hardest countries in cricket to tour:

  • After only one pitiful warm-up fixture on a pitch surface which would bear no resemblance to the pitches played on for the rest of the tour, taking the first test of three into five days, after previous visitors to the subcontinent haven’t been able to achieve this, is definitely a good thing.
  • A century opening partnership between Tom Latham and Martin Guptill in the third test, showing that each player was adapting to the difficult pitch and environmental conditions, was also pleasing.
  • Jeetan Patel returning to the Black Caps after a couple of years out of the game, being rewarded for strong first-class cricket performances, and performing again at the top level with skill and wisdom.
  • Neil Wagner bringing himself, through strong, determined bowling performances, into the top 10 test bowlers in the world rankings.
  • Tom Latham’s test series scores of 58, 2, 1, 74, 53 and 6 showing, despite getting the occasional good delivery to be dismissed early, that he learned throughout the tour and improved as a result.
  • Tom Latham’s ODI series scores of 79, 46, 61 and 39 proving that he’s not just going to be cubby-holed as a “test” batsman; he has the skills and expertise to perform well in limited overs cricket also.
  • Kane Williamson scoring a determined ODI century, despite crippling cramps, to anchor the team innings.
  • Martin Guptill finding form and timing in his 72 runs in the fourth ODI, proving that time and experience in foreign conditions is often all that is required.
  • The successful return to the test and ODI bowling crease by James Neesham and Corey Anderson, especially after it was thought that Anderson would only ever be able to bat on this tour, after his return from back injury.

So, plenty to work on … but also plenty to be pleased about also.  It’s very easy to just look at the last outing by any sports team, but you sometimes have to step back and look at the big picture too.  I have no doubt that this may have been the last test tour for some in this Black Caps squad, but you also have to consider how much knowledge and experience you just cast aside if you go about making rashly thought-out changes.

It’s definitely looking at being an exciting home season, in light of the positives from this tour, with the likes of Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Africa visiting our shores.  You’d be an idiot if you let one poor batting performance at the end of an exhausting and draining nearly two months away, keep you from getting to a ground near you this summer and enjoying the top class cricket that will be there to see!

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One response to “Black Caps Indian tour wrap-up

  1. Carol Anne Edwards says:

    I agree wholeheartedly as to me NZ BLACKCAPS are my Favourite Cricket team and I backed them all along from beginning to end of their tour of India!!! I was rapt watching Corey Anderson bowl those four overs and thoroughly enjoyed immensely when he was coming back into team precisely as a Specialist Batsman.I have already got my fourday pass for Basin Reserve test 12-15 January 2017 v Bangladesh and I will be getting tickets for BC v SA 16-20 March 2017!!!

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