Former New Zealand coach Mark Greatbatch has strongly criticised Ross Taylor & Co for their constant inability to handle spin bowling.
New Zealand surrendered meekly in the first Test against India at Hyderabad, losing by an innings and 115 runs. They were bowled out for a mere 159 and 164 in the first and second innings respectively with as many as 18 of the 20 wickets falling to Indian spinners R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.
Skipper Taylor said the team faced a mental block when it came to the turning ball. “Most of it is probably in the mind. (It’s about) trusting your defence and trusting your attacking shots,” Taylor had said of the team’s struggles against spin after Kane Williamson emerged as the only Kiwi batsman to cross 50 (52 off 163 balls) in the first Test.
Greatbatch however, felt the New Zealanders were not making most of their resources.
“You can only teach them (NZ players) so much; they have to take it on board and I’m questioning whether or not they are. In the last four or five years, there have been people who have worked with players on playing spin and you’d have to question whether or not the information being delivered and talked about is being held on to. The top 20 to 30 fringe players have had access to resources and coaches — you name it, they’ve had it, but they’re not getting any better in that department. A cynic would ask if all that information they’ve been given is any good, but when you have guys like John Wright, myself, John Bracewell, Andy Moles, Martin Crowe and Richard Hadlee involved, you’d suggest we know a thing or two about it,” Greatbatch, who played 41 Tests for New Zealand, told Fairfax NZ News.
The former left-handed big-hitting batsman though offered some words of advice to his compatriots, who prepare to take on MS Dhoni & Co in the second Test at Bangalore tomorrow. He said the Kiwi batsmen must come onto the front foot as much as possible if they wish to success against turn. “I’m not saying they have to go forward, but they have to (at least) look to; it’s easier to go back from there if you need to, but going forward once you’ve gone back is much harder,” said Greatbatch.