By: Bryan Waddle | Wednesday, July 18, 2012 10:49 AM
Despite heavy series defeats in the Caribbean the Blackcaps can take some positives out of the early part of the tour, even if the negatives to date outweigh the positives.
While it should not be an excuse, this team was given a hospital pass arriving in Florida underprepared while the West Indies were battle hardened from series’ with Australia and England.
They had a chance to win the series but couldn't nail the big moments that lift teams out of mediocrity, but I'm not concerned about the ability of this team to do that in the test series.
I’m not sure the team was as consistent as we demand, due to inconsistent selections enforced by injury. I am not and never will be a fan for the rest and rotation policy that opened this tour. The best players need to start with substitutes selected as, and when needed. Sadly New Zealand doesn't have the depth to sustain either approach.
It almost appeared as if the early exchanges were more a way to prepare some players for the test series.That said its been a useful exercise to asses various talents in the build up to a new extended campaign.
Positives have been the development of Kane Williamson as the next New Zealand skipper. Pressed in to the role he showed leaderships, adaptability, and a cool head in crisis which elevates him to the senior role he was destined for anyway.
Even though the bowlers couldn't capitalise on early successes in the last two matches and conceded what eventually was a winning advantage, it wasn't all doom and gloom.
Tim Southee's period in the wilderness has helped refresh him and ensure he can be an adequate replacement for Mark Gillespie. Boult continues to develop as a serious left arm swing option, and Bracewell, after a mauling in the T20's, reaffirmed he is a player more suited to the longer game at present.
That too is my assessment of Tarun Nethula, who possesses a more than adequate leg spin talent but isn't yet the economical wicket taker needed at T20 level. He needs to be given time to develop his talent and should be a useful weapon on what seem likely to be spin friendly test match pitches.
Once again New Zealand's inability to play quality spin has been exposed as the series was dominated by the unorthodox talents of Sunil Narine. The test should help negate his effectiveness, as batsmen won’t have the need to maintain a run rate demanded in the short game which creates situations where poor shot options are taken to maintain or develop winning momentum.
I decided to reserve judgement until the end of the tour and am happy to remain with that policy as there were enough signs that this Blackcaps side is on the right track, my only concern is who will take over from John Wright, it seems the final candidates fall short of the job specifications.