New Zealand Cricket wants the Black Caps to be the All Blacks of the cricketing world – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: November 21, 2021 at 9:34 pm

New Zealand Cricket wants the Black Caps to be the All Blacks of world cricket, sitting at the top of the game year after year after year.

As it pursues that goal of sustainable success, it has commissioned lawyer and former board member Don Mackinnon to conduct a review of how the national mens cricket team got to where it is today.

Such reviews normally come when things arent going well for sports teams and organisations, but this one comes at a time when the Black Caps are in as good a place as they have ever been.

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Black Caps Matt Henry, Henry Nicholls and coach Gary Stead leave managed isolation in Auckland.

They made the final of the 2021 T20 World Cup, losing to Australia last weekend; the final of the inaugural World Test Championship, beating India in June; and the final of the 2019 ODI World Cup, losing to England only on the boundary countback tiebreaker. They are ranked No 1 in the world in tests and ODIs and No 4 in T20s.

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They have had a remarkable rise over the past nine years, since the nadir in early 2013, where they were humiliated in South Africa, all out for 45 in the first innings of the first test in Cape Town. At the end of that tour, they were ranked No 8 in tests, No 9 in ODIs, and No 8 in T20s.

The challenge for NZ Cricket is to keep that success going once the current playing group moves on. Taylor, Kane Williamson and in white-ball cricket Martin Guptill will sit among the countrys greatest batsmen when their careers end, while Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Neil Wagner will be regarded as some of its greatest bowlers.

NZ Crickets high performance manager Bryan Stronach feels the relationship between players performing at that level and the Black Caps success is a circular one, and readily acknowledges they are untested when it comes to maintaining results while bringing a new generation through.

If you look at our system and our structures and our support, how much have we added to Kane Williamson? I'm not sure it's that much. He is an amazing player and always wouldve been, and it's just his mindset and growth and how he goes about things.

JOHN DAVIDSON/Photosport

NZ Crickets high performance general manager Bryan Stronach says it wants sustainable success for the Black Caps.

Those generational players are amazing, and we're a little bit untested around this, but our hope and our hunch and what our information is saying is that we feel we are doing a far better job of supporting that next tier of players to be even better now.

The immediate impact of players such as Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell over the past two years is a sign that hunch is correct, while the consistency provided by Guptill, Taylor, and Williamson over a long period has helped the likes of Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, and BJ Watling to flourish as well.

Stronach has been around the Black Caps for more than a decade, starting as a strength and conditioning coach. He was there at the end of the 2000s and the start of the 2010s when the success at the end of the 2010s and the start of the 2020s would have been unimaginable. Theres undoubtedly room for improvement the fact that they lost two of the three recent finals says it all, as does the fact that they made the test and ODI deciders by fine margins but its clear he relishes the challenge of ensuring it continues to the greatest extent possible.

We've climbed the ranks, and we've got to where we are now, which is still not where we want to go, he said. We still want to go a little bit higher, but that's not the goal. The goal is to get there and stay there, and that's our untested bit at the moment.

We have a whole lot of systems and processes and a whole lot of decisions that we make according to that, and sometimes we're actually sacrificing the short term of the Black Caps or the White Ferns in the now to make sure we get that stuff set up for the future, but it is untested, and that's our challenge, and that's probably the exciting bit for me.

We've made the improvements we have, but we want that sustainable success. We want to be up there year after year after year. We want to be the All Blacks of the cricketing world and there's no reason why we can't do that if we get it right.

No-one has hit more T20 sixes this year than Black Caps batsman Glenn Phillips.

That is where the work Mackinnon has been doing is set to be a tremendous help. NZ Cricket had been considering taking a broader look at the Black Caps for a while, but once they qualified for the World Test Championship final, they delayed the start of the review until after it. A report is due in the next couple of months and Stronach is eager to dive into it.

Whenever you do something, naturally humans look at the negative what have we done wrong? But we figure the most important thing for our sustainable success, to look forward and try to achieve that analogy of the All Blacks of the cricketing world, is to actually recognise the things we've done well, whether that's been planned or whether that's been luck and just come about, because there's always a bit of that.

Because then things become sustainable as opposed to forgetting that stuff that's gone well or somehow missing it and going on to the next big thing, where you create this cycle where yes, you might be getting better at different things, but you're not actually improving overall. The key for us is embedding what's actually going well, then worrying about the next thing.

We see this as a 101 to really get right and leverage off and that'll be the piece, hopefully for us, that carries on when most of us are gone, for whoever else is sitting in my role and the board's role and the CEO's role and so forth to understand and recognise and carry it on.

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New Zealand Cricket wants the Black Caps to be the All Blacks of the cricketing world - Stuff.co.nz

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