New Zealand Cricket CEO Justin Vaughan gives an update about the series against Pakistan, the Decision Review System, player conduct and the BLACKCAPS coaching position.
As I write this update I’m in Dubai at the ICC’s headquarters for a meeting of the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee.
These quarterly meetings are important as a means to share information among the international cricket family, and to address the common issues we face. But at the same time it’s tough to be away, even if it is only for four days, just as our own summer of international cricket is getting under way. And if the first test of the summer is anything to go by, it is going to be one not to miss!
Playing away at home
What a start it was to the National Bank Series, with a close-fought first Test between the BLACKCAPS and Pakistan at University Oval in Dunedin – culminating in a thrilling win to the BLACKCAPS in the last session of the game. Cricinfo Editor Sambit Bal called it “the perfect test”. It certainly was a great advertisement for test cricket and fantastic to see around 7000 people attending over the course of the match. The whole team at Otago Cricket, and in particular groundsman Tom Tamati, deserve great congratulations for hosting such a memorable test match.
An unusual feature of this series is that although we’re playing at home, it’s officially an “away” series – which is why you’ll see Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf tossing the coin at the three Tests. The series was originally scheduled to be played in Pakistan, but was relocated due to security concerns. The ODI and Twenty20 matches were played in the United Arab Emirates a few weeks ago, while Pakistan agreed to come here for the Tests – giving us a welcome extension to our international season.
Given the difficulties Pakistan faces, it is important we continue to look for ways to fully include them in international cricket. They add so much. This series is the first time Pakistan has played a “home” test series outside of Pakistan, and although New Zealand Cricket makes no profit from staging these test matches, we are delighted to assist.
Decision Review System
The Dunedin Test was also notable as the first match to use the new Umpire Decision Review System (DRS). This system allows the third umpire to use technology to review decisions requested by players. The DRS quickly made its presence felt with two reviews on the first day. Some fine-tuning is probably needed – and players will need to learn how best to use the technology - but overall I am confident the sensible use of technology to assist umpires make correct decisions is a positive step for the game.
ICC U19 Cricket World Cup launched
On the eve of the Dunedin Test, ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat officially launched the Under 19 World Cup at a special function at University Oval. Haroon noted that the event has a history of launching young stars into the game’s top level, with players like Youvraj Singh, Hashim Amla and our own Ross Taylor coming through the ranks of the U19 event. New Zealand Cricket is excited to be hosting the world’s best young cricketers in the tournament, which runs from 15 to 30 January at venues in Christchurch, Queenstown, Palmerston North and Napier.
Strategic partnership with USA Cricket
The USA is not considered a major cricketing nation – but it’s a country with a huge potential and already has a significant playing population, drawn largely from expatriate Indians, Pakistanis and West Indians. I had the pleasure of visiting the USA Cricket Association headquarters recently to discuss a possible long-term partnership with the game there. USA Cricket is at an exciting point in its development.
At this stage we are exploring ways to work together but our partnership could range from sharing coaching and development resources through to staging international cricket fixtures involving the BLACKCAPS in the United States, as well as other joint initiatives. Our first project will be to help the USA Under-19 team prepare ahead of the Under-19 World Cup.
In the news
Unfortunately there have been player conduct issues reported in the media recently. New Zealand Cricket treats these matters very seriously and had dealt with the specific issues raised in the media many weeks ago.
It is never good when players face misconduct charges, and I am uncomfortable conducting proceedings through the media. Our leading players are an important part of New Zealand Cricket – and they deserve to have these matters dealt with professionally.
I commend Aaron Redmond and Neil Broom, who fronted up and acknowledged they had slipped up during the New Zealand A tour to India recently. Security for our touring teams is vitally important, and security protocols are there for a reason. However we all make mistakes from time to time and I am sure Aaron and Neil have learnt from this experience.
Jesse Ryder has also been under the spotlight of late. New Zealand Cricket is continuing to support and work with Jesse on his fitness and rehabilitation as he comes back from a serious injury. Jesse appreciates all the support he is getting, is making steady progress, and I know he can’t wait to get back to cricket. Hopefully in the next few weeks he will back at the crease trying to stake his claim for BLACKCAPS re-selection.
We have started the process of filling the vacancy left by the resignation of BLACKCAPS coach Andy Moles. Our first task has been to identify what is required in the role – and soon we will be actively targeting the best candidates with a view of making a new appointment in place for the Bangladesh series next February.
However it is apparent through their recent performances that the BLACKCAPS team are operating very well at present. This is due to the outstanding leadership of Daniel Vettori and his senior players, as well as the tremendous contribution being made by the support and management team.
In the meantime we are fortunate to have world-class coaching expertise to support the team. The BLACKCAPS team operates with Mark O’Donnell and Shane Jurgensen as coaching assistants. Outside of this, the team has been assisted through the presence of national selector Mark Greatbatch as well as Saqlain Mustaq and John Wright (during the current Pakistan test series) to ensure their preparation is top notch.
I look forward to catching up with you again over the summer. I encourage you to get along and see our best cricketers in action – whether it’s at an international game or a domestic Plunket Shield match. There is nothing like watching it live.
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