A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

End Of Season Reports 3: New Zealand

Posted on April 19, 2012 by in 40/50-over, Opinion, Tests

New Zealand


Tests 8th, ODI 7th, T20 4th.


South Africa (H) – T20 lost 2-1 (3), ODI lost 3-0, Tests lost 1-0 (3)

Zimbabwe (H) – Tests won 1-0 (1) , ODI won 3-0 (3), T20 won 2-0 (2)

Australia (A) – Tests drew 1-1 (2)

Zimbabwe (A) – Tests won 1-0  (1)


A typically inconsistent (English) winter for New Zealand. At times they looked a decent side, such as when they bullied Zimbabwe (reducing them to the fabulous score of 51allout) and when pulling off a remarkable win in Hobart to share a Test series with Australia. Once South Africa came to town, however, New Zealand reverted to type – fragile batting failing to give their reasonable bowling attack anything to work with.

In the world of Test Cricket New Zealand sit in limbo, well below the likes of Sri Lanka and (at the time of writing) the West Indies but above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, as evidenced by a clean sweap of the latter, both home and away. Even that wasn’t without its problems, with Zimbabwe very nearly chasing down 366 to win the one-off Test in Bulawayo.

New Zealand’s batting woes have seen a series of reshuffles at the top of the order, essentially throwing as much mud as possible and hoping some sticks. Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson both look fine prospects but they’ve struggled for consistency and to translate starts into serious scores. Around them Brendan McCullum, Ross Taylor and the issue-laden Jesse Ryder all had patchy winters, with the job of bailing them out regularly falling to Dean Brownlie and the evergreen Daniel Vettori. It’s a tactic that might work occasionally but it more often that not resulted in major collapses, with the Kiwis failing to reach 300 once in five matches against Australia and South Africa.

The New Zealand bowlers had a pretty decent winter. Doug Bracewell looks a very good prospect, Chris Martin is consistent (in every possible way) and Mark Gillespie did very well against South Africa. On the downside, Daniel Vettori is starting to look more and more like a purely defensive option, rather than an attacking one. He may have fantastic facial hair but he averaged 44 with the ball in his one game against Australia and 95 against South Africa.


A young Dan Vettori. Looks a lot like Ben Mitchell from Eastenders.

The visit of South Africa was a good barometer of where New Zealand really stand. They were very competitive in the T20 series – winning the first game, beaten in the second by an obscene innings from Richard Levi and then snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the third – but were outclassed in the ODI series and reliant on the weather to salvage two draws in the Tests.

Supporting New Zealand must be a confusing experience, like that time we dressed up as Lady Gaga and did a dance for our dad before going on to murder our stepmum’s best friend with a picture frame. Expectations are perennially low but there’s always the occasional unexpected victory to perk things up. It’s likely to stay that way for some time – there just isn’t the pool of players to choose from so the same few faces will continue to frustrate and occasionally inspire. It certainly won’t hurt the likes of Kane Williamson to spend time in the County Championship. New Zealand might want to consider giving some of their bowlers similar experience, especially as they don’t play again until the very end of June, when they travel to the West Indies.


Post a Comment


James Knight

20 Apr 2012 09:27

Vettori just seems to be a containing option now, maybe because the batsmen hardly ever get enough runs to give the attack something to bowl at. To be honest, they probably can’t afford to lose his batting just yet.

Genuinely can’t remember the last time NZ would have set their opponents 200 odd to win on the last day (with Dan in the team, I mean).


Matt Larnach

20 Apr 2012 09:01

Are Vettori’s days coming to an end? The Kiwis didn’t suffer for his absence in Hobart. The real issue is getting enough Test cricket to help bring the young guys through who will replace him.


Mike G

20 Apr 2012 03:00

At least he got a couple of hundreds! But my point was really around the initial comment that he hadn’t translated starts into serious scores – you can’t discount the times someone does and just highlight the times they don’t. At 21 he’s probably shown the more experienced guys what you need to do against the best attacks to get bigger scores – hopefully he’ll do it lots more times over the coming years and bring some of the other guys along with him….


Nichael Bluth

20 Apr 2012 02:06

There’s no doubt Williamson should be a seriously good player over the next few years but the point was that he (like the rest of the NZ top order) was making too many nice 20s and 30s rather than 50s and 100s. Between his first hundred and his second he had 19 innings in which he averaged less than 26.


Mike G

20 Apr 2012 00:29

Yep, fair comments James. Let’s all hope!


James Knight

19 Apr 2012 23:07

I sort of agree, but think up until that he was flattering to deceive somewhat. Hopefully that hundred in Wellington is a platform from which he can really push on – I think he’s the most talented batsman New Zealand have produced in a long time.

Guptill, on the other hand, is immensely frustrating.


Mike G

19 Apr 2012 21:04

You are being a bit harsh on Williamson by grouping him with Guptill and saying he hadn’t translated starts into any serious scores. For anyone who saw his 77 in Hamilton and in particular the 102* in Wellington, these were seriously good innings, showing maturity beyond his years in the face of a truly great fast bowling attack. A shining light from the summer of cricket and his last innings nicely bookended his season after starting with the second fastest one day ton ever for a New Zealander in ZImbabwe.


Ben Smith

19 Apr 2012 13:14

Williamson’s coming back to Glos and we’ve apparently signed some sort of deal with NZ for them to send whoever they want over to get some experience as a cheap way for us to get overseas players.