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New Zealand cricket has lost its identity: Former player’s sweeping statement against Williamson’s side

Auckland, Sep 14 (IANS) A year after Kane Williamson’s New Zealand cricket team lifted the World Test Championship (WTC) trophy, former Black Caps cricketer, Craig Cumming, has made a sweeping statement that the team has lost its identity.

New Zealand’s performance has dipped sharply following the historic WTC title triumph against India in England last year and their ODI form too has nose-dived of late. The Kiwis were thrashed 3-0 in the three-Test away series by England, and their ODI team recently suffered a similar 3-0 fate against Australia at Cairns.

Former opening batter Craig Cumming, who played 11 Tests and 13 ODIs for the Black Caps, believes the players no longer understand their role within the side, and urged New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for a quick rectification as the team prepares for 12 gruelling months of limited-overs cricket.

“I think we’ve lost our identity,” Cumming told SENZ Mornings on Wednesday.

“(We don’t know) who our best players are, and I think the players might’ve lost a little bit of an understanding of what their roles are.

“We’ve got to find that really quickly because we’re at the top of the tree and we’re going down the hill (on) the other side pretty quickly. We’ve got to find our best team and actually get them understanding the style of cricket we want to play because I don’t think it’s a mental barrier with Australia, I really don’t, I just think at the moment… for some reason, they seem to go up and we don’t.

“I think this is not just against Australia, I think we need to find our identity,” he added.

Cumming added that dependable batter Ross Taylor’s retirement had upset the balance of the team, as his combination with skipper Williamson helped the Kiwis to several memorable successes, most notably the World Test Championship title triumph against India last year.

“We’ve also lost Ross Taylor (who was) a world-class number four, and number four is a really important position in one-day cricket. Ross was averaging in the mid-40s, his record (was) as good as anyone in the world. You also probably forget the calmness and the confidence that he gives players in the changing room, I mean, often that could just be a simple word of, ‘Trust yourself… let’s go out, trust me’.

“We’ve lost Ross and Kane’s (Williamson) not in great form, so when you think about our success in the last sort of 10 years, it’s been built on those two in the middle order. We’ve lost one of the major rocks and the other one’s battling a wee bit with form. I think he’ll come right — Kane — but it’s just taking him some time.”

New Zealand will hope to regain some confidence when they begin their campaign in the ICC T20 World Cup across the Tasmania sea in October this year, after finishing runners-up to Australia in the 2021 edition in the UAE.

–IANS

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