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New Zealand Cricket: Rising Above Mediocrity

In the past 2 years, there have been quite a few comebacks and reversals for the top eight cricketing teams, which have kept the seat
belts of the passionate followers fastened.

1. The curious case of Australia’s poor show against South Africa, India and England from the November of 2012 to the August of 2013, where they didn’t win a single test in the twelve matches they played, was well reversed by their superb performances against the two of their above counterparts, England and South Africa, where they registered seven wins out of the nine matches they played against both of them. A well-proven story of a setback plus comeback.

2. After their loss to South Africa at home in 2012, England’s spirited show against India, New Zealand and Australia from the November of 2012 to the August of 2013, was well reversed by their big losses against Australia in the second Ashes of 2013 and Sri Lanka in 2014.

3. India’s comeback and setback script has been a topsy-turvy one. Their loss against England at home in 2012 was well answered by a brilliant show in the Border-Gavaskar trophy and Champions Trophy in 2013. The losses against South Africa and Kiwis on their backyards from the December of 2013 to the February of 2014, were exceptionally reversed by their fine show till the final of ICC T20 World Cup 2014.

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source: www.espncricinfo.com

source: www.espncricinfo.com

Now, apart from these three instances, there is a lesser known  fourth instance, whose importance, according to me, shouldn’t go unnoticed. And that is the Kiwi show that has slowly but surely taken a sudden rise. Apart from being an important instance; it is one of the most interesting ones too.

• In the Test series of 2013, the spirited and dominant South African team, made them look very ordinary. Their performance was demoralizing to say the least. But, out of nowhere, they came hard at the Proteas in the ODI’s and defeated them quite comprehensively.

• After losing the ODI series at home against England in February 2013, Kiwis’ performance against the number one ranked England side, which comprised of an in-form Cook, Prior, Pietersen and Bell, was outstanding. They were so close to registering a series win but sometimes,  as it happens in the sport that even after a lot of hard-work, it just doesn’t go your way. Those who witnessed that series, would understand what is being said here.

• When the Kiwis toured England just before the Champions Trophy, their performance was absolutely brilliant. It was a very clinical performance, where both batting and bowling came together. Martin Guptill deserves a special mention for his outstanding batting throughout the series.

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These tales of defeats and comebacks, are a good sign for the Kiwis. They have been brilliant in their last two Test series, against India and West Indies. Kiwis are making giant strides towards the glory and this can well be their golden period.

The middle order looks solid with the likes of Williamson, Taylor and McCullum, and Neesham and Anderson add the x-factor to the lower-order. It would be just fair to say that New Zealand is the most well-balanced team in the world, at the moment.

One thing they need to change is the top-order in both Tests and ODI’s. Latham should be accompanied by Guptill in Tests and Watling in ODI’s, so that both Anderson and Neesham can be included in the playing XI.

A very well balanced unit coupled with the home advantage, makes New Zealand one of the top most contenders for the World Cup 2015.

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by Sidharth Gulati

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