Wright wants more consistency from team: Taylor
Ahmedabad: New Zealand coach John Wright has demanded more consistency from the players as he feels the team cannot progress much riding on just one or two members` performance in the crucial Group A clash against Zimbabwe in the cricket World Cup here on Friday.
Wright, who coached India for five years in the early part of the millennium, also wants the team to put up scores in excess of 300, New Zealand`s vice captain Ross Taylor told mediapersons on the eve of the match at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera.
"John talked to the whole team about what to do. Not necessarily just the batters, we need to be more consistent and clinical about the way we approach. One person standing up is just not good enough," Taylor told reporters.
"(According to Wright) as a batting unit we need to step up and score about 300-330 which is the par score in this tournament," said the top-order batsman.
Both Zimbabwe and New Zealand have a win and a loss going into the clash and Taylor said his team`s batsmen are a talented lot who need to go out and perform to their potential.
"We are all very talented. We are getting out there in the middle and just getting ourselves out. It`s frustrating but we know we are not far away. In our performance, hopefully we will show that," said the 26-year-old.
"We are just getting out... I think our whole batting order has struggled over the last 12 months or so. We need a couple of players to stand up and perform for us to be competitive," he added.
Taylor, who has played 101 ODIs since making his debut in March, 2006, was confident of rectifying the poor record, especially on slow wickets that are the vogue in the sub continent.
"Obviously three hundreds is disappointing, hopefully I can rectify it in the next 12 months," said the Kiwi vice captain.
"It`s disappointing. In New Zealand... obviously I grew up there and I know the conditions well. In Australia where the conditions are faster I seem to do ok. But on the slower wickets, I probably struggle and get out. I am not sure why but hopefully I can improve my stats in the next couple of years as we play more in the subcontinent," he said.
About tomorrow`s game and the battle his team`s batsmen would have to wage against the spin-heavy Zimbabwe attack, Taylor remarked that the two teams have not played much in recent years. In fact the last match-up had occurred in August 2005 at Harare in a triangular series.
"We haven`t played them much and it`s good to have them back. We have an upcoming tour of Zimbabwe, in October and they are coming over in December. It`s going to be very good game, I think both sides have got some key match ups," Taylor said.
He said the Kiwis have had the benefit of playing at this venue recently against India in a Test match in November last year and have been working hard on how to counter the spin threat from the Zimbabwe side.
"We played a Test match here. We know how the wicket plays. We saw how they bowled against Australia and I think 260 was a fair reflection of the way they bowled. It could be 30-35 overs or 40-42 overs of spin. So that`s something we have been working on for the last four-five days, facing all the spin in Ahmedabad," Taylor said.
Taylor said the use of the sweep shot to counter the spinning ball was one of quite a few options available to his team`s batsmen.
"I wouldn`t say that is the only shot we will be playing. Every batsman plays accordingly and differently. Sweep is definitely one of the options, we saw in the Test match...the ball stays slow and low. Jesse Ryder scored a hundred and I am sure we will play accordingly.
"We are just taking each game as it comes. Zimbabwe are a good side. The confidence in the team is certainly getting up there and hopefully we can show that tomorrow."
The Kiwi batsman said no team can be taken lightly which was proved last night at Bangalore when Kevin O`Brien scored the fastest-ever Cup century to power Ireland to a stunning victory over England in Group `B`.
"Last night we saw Ireland, they can upset big teams. I am not saying Zimbabwe are a small team but they have been out of cricket for some time. They have played some big games... we won`t be taking them lightly and we have to respect them as a team.
"I turned it (TV) on when he (Kevin O`Brien) was on 91, (Andrew) Strauss had just dropped the catch. I saw the highlights of the way he batted, it was an outstanding innings and it shows that the so called minnows still have their place in the World Cup. It made the World Cup even more interesting and it will be followed by more people now," he declared.
"Well it shows that they can perform at this level. It`s up to the ICC to decide whether they want them or not," he added about the International Cricket Council`s decision to keep associate members out of the 2015 World Cup.
Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbara too saw the game against New Zealand as crucial to his side`s progress in the tournament and said his team members had prepared well for the important clash.
"Yes, it is the most important game for us tomorrow against New Zealand. Guys have prepared well. Hopefully there will be more positive from the last game we played (against Australia)," he said.
Zimbabwe restricted defending champions Australia to 262 for 6 but then crumbled against the rivals` pace attack and lost the game easily when chasing under lights on February 21.
He also declared that the same eleven that won their last game against Canada by 175 runs at Nagpur would be retained.
"More likely to be the same team that played against Canada," he said to indicate that there would be four regular spin bowlers to confront the Kiwis batting line-up.
Asked how many overs of spin would be used, Chigumbara said it all depended on how the New Zealand batsmen shaped up in the match.
"It just depends on situation how New Zealand play spinners and play accordingly. New Zealand are a big team in One day cricket as compared to us, (and) we will have to give our best," he said.
Zimbabwe have not beaten the Kiwis in five meetings in the World Cup in the past, with only one of them ending in a no result.
The Zimbabwe skipper also conceded that his batsmen need to perform.
"It`s important to get someone to get going from batting department," he said when referring to the 98 scored by one of his team`s key batsmen, wicket keeper Tatanda Taibu, against Canada.
Chigumbara said the important lesson to be learned from Ireland`s shock win over England at Bangalore was not to give up at any stage of a match.
"Cricket is a funny game. (We have) something to learn from Ireland; not to give up from ball one," he concluded.