Having had a chicken based meal almost every day for the last nine weeks, it’s been nice to add a bit of variation to the diet since arriving back from Sri Lanka on Sunday.
The sub-continent is a demanding place to tour, but it provided a great opportunity to expose the fringe members of our team to some of the toughest conditions on the international cricket circuit. It’s not only been a great learning experience for the players, but also given myself and the other coaches a chance to see both the strengths and the weaknesses of the players coming through.
For a lot of them it was their first opportunity to play in the starting XI on a regular basis. While the domestic scene in New Zealand challenges players in its own way, touring overseas is a whole new ball game. You’re playing in a different country, in different conditions and against a side which is very familiar with those conditions. Not only is the opposition a step up, but they often bring unique batting and bowling techniques – not too many players bowl yorkers like Lasith Malinga does!
I’ll try to avoid a cliché about overcoming adversity, but I do strongly believe that our group is better for the time we spent away in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The key thing I felt we missed was consistency and as we all know, that’s crucial in international cricket. It was pleasing to see that each player made a valuable contribution at some stage, but to be the world’s best you need to perform night-in and night-out and the players know that too.
Our focus now shifts back to Test cricket and the fast approaching ANZ International Series against the West Indies. It’s not long between tours, but with most of our Test players having been back in New Zealand playing the Plunket Shield, I’m confident that the team will go in prepared and fresh. The guys always enjoy playing in front of home crowds and having spoken to most of them I know they‘re itching to get out there and go one better than we did against England in the home series last year!
Summer is almost in full swing and there’s going to be plenty of cricket. Hopefully you follow the team’s movements and come along to a game if you get the opportunity!