Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The next time Daniel Vettori demands the right to pack his own lunch, he should make sure he has the appetite to consume everything in his lunchbox.

Not content to be the Captain, the side’s one true world class bowler and do a handy job of batting on the side, he insisted that he have complete control over the team. So, no fulltime coach, then. Not to mention the fact that he is also one of the selectors.

It seems he liked the menu, ate it all and came back for seconds. A lot like anyone with an addiction, with the initial taste being to his liking, he hungered for more. It got the better of him. New Zealand Cricket bowed to his demands and he was on the road to absolute power.

All this would seem to be the cricketing equivalent of a dictatorship.

This is all well and good if you are on friendly terms with success.

Unfortunately for Vettori, though, he isn’t, and the situation is fast turning ugly for him.

While a good proportion of the cricketing fraternity were clamouring for John Wright to be brought in as coach, Vettori insisted there was no need. The players didn’t see the need for a fulltime coach. They knew how to go about producing the desired results.

Well, so he said, anyway.

Supposedly a lowly performing team like New Zealand doesn’t need a coach, yet a highly talented outfit such as the current England squad has a full-time coach to help them in their search for their Holy Grail, the Ashes.

Go figure, on that one.

They could have done with some help in India as their form has given very little hope to their long suffering fans.

After the routing that the Black Caps were on the receiving end of against Bangladesh, supporters thought it couldn’t get any worse. A respectable showing against India in the following test series and they were led to believe that the Bangladesh result may have been an aberration.

Now three-nil down in the one-dayers against what is effectively India’s B side, it is clear that there is something more serious wrong within the team and there seems little hope that they will acquire any semblance of form and confidence for the upcoming World Cup in February.

So, what can be done? Well, certainly there is no point in changing much this close to a major competition. New Zealand cricket have called in former England coach, Duncan Fletcher, for the remainder of the Indian tour. With so little time though, Fletcher can do no more than paper over a few of the many cracks that are visible for all to see.

This means that the Black Caps have no choice but to limp through the next three months and hope for a miracle.

Even after the world cup, however, the options are limited. New Zealand Cricket could make mass changes and bring in new faces. Of course the problem with this approach is that there appears to be very little in the way of genuine talent below the top team.

The problem for New Zealand Cricket is tournaments such as the IPL 20/20 which offers players the chance to earn inordinately large sums of money. If they had tried to kick them out of the National team, they would’ve simply gone off and earn mega-bucks doing a hell of a lot less work.

Until now, that is. With their poor form affecting their earning capacity, the player’s options are not so widespread. Which is a splendid time for CEO Justin Vaughan to put a halt to the player power that inflicts this team.

The current mob’s places within the team may be safe. What should not be safe, though, is Vettori’s monopoly on power within New Zealand Cricket. While his position in the team is without doubt, and there is no question that he should stay on as captain, that should be where his control ends. Make the decisions on the field. Off it, leave that to a coach that has had many years of experience.

Surely now is the time to appoint a full-time coach of the ilk of a Duncan Fletcher of a John Wright. Either of these men would do a fantastic job of rescuing a mob of out of control egos and moulding them into, if not the world’s best, a competitive unit capable of competing with any team on their day.

And let us forget the nonsense that Vettori and Vaughan spout about Wright not having the organisational skills for the job. After all, he did have five highly successful years of coaching a star-studded Indian side with egos that were a match for their cricketing talents. If Wright could manage anything involving Indian cricket with success, then he more than warrants consideration for the job of coaching the Black Caps.

To which, most would concur. Except for those within the National team that possibly overrate themselves and are frightened of the home truths that a straight-shooter such as Wright may direct their way. This would seem a more likely reason for the players being against Wright as coach than his ability to organise.The latter seems to be more of a red herring.

For the sake of cricket in New Zealand though, let us hope not. And let us trust that Vettori is big enough to admit that he has taken on too much and that he would be better off concentrating more on his game than on how much power he can attain.

If not, then New Zealand cricket should do the flagging fortunes of its National team a favour and take the decision out of Vettori’s hands.

No comments: