When you see just how much inexperience there is in the New Zealand top order, you can understand why the national selectors decided to keep the faith in the batting unit that lost the first Test in Hamilton. The top six of Tim McIntosh (3), Martin Guptill (1), Daniel Flynn (10), Ross Taylor (15), Jesse Ryder (7) and James Franklin (24) have just 60 caps between them.
Brendon McCullum, who bats lower down the order, urged the youngsters to take inspiration from their more accomplished opponents. “You can’t even begin to compare the status of our players versus their players, what they’ve achieved over a period of time,” said McCullum. “Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman have been in every situation that you can be as a batsman. For them, it’s just a matter of replicating that each time they go out. We’re going out there trying to learn situations as they unfold. It can be tough but we’ve also got the blueprint to follow when we’re out there playing. It’s staring us in the face every time they bat.
“We have got the ability to learn pretty quickly from what they’ve done well. If we can maintain a little bit of faith in the guys we’ve got here, we’ve got an incredible skill base within a pretty young side. If we can develop that and let these guys learn off the guys we’re playing at the moment, we should be heading in the right direction.”
McCullum believed that the unchanged team had a chance to redeem itself in the second Test. “It gives us an opportunity to try and rectify what went wrong in the first game. We know we’ve got an opportunity to go out and try and do what we didn’t do well in the last Test. Included in that is the character and fight under tough situations. We weren’t up to the mark in the last game."
“They’ve got world-class players and they’ll be tough to be beat but there are areas that we can improve on that will hopefully increase our performance in the match. If India are not quite at their best, it gives us a way that we can steal a march on them.”
Even New Zealand’s lowly 8th ranking did not dishearten McCullum. “Obviously, things haven’t been going well for us in Test cricket for a while. We have new personnel already involved in our team and some exciting players throughout the team. What we saw from Jesse (Ryder) the other day was pretty amazing. If we can develop that and include some fine performances from some of the senior guys as well, you start to build up a bit better performance across the board.”