Wellington, Apr.8 (ANI): New Zealand cricket team coach Andy Moles has admitted that one of the most annoying aspects of his first summer as New Zealand coach was the side's inability to make solid starts at the crease.
The former opening batsman said the opening partnership remains a prime concern.
Seven tests into his reign an opening combination are yet to produce a stand of 50 runs. The discarded duo of Jamie How and Aaron Redmond came closest against Australia in Adelaide when they put on 46 in the first innings.
Redmond was axed for the West Indies series -- How and Tim McIntosh's best stand was 33 in Dunedin -- and when McIntosh was joined by Auckland teammate Martin Guptill for the three-test Indian series the pair's best effort was 30 in the final test here at the Basin Reserve.
McIntosh and Guptill are the 14th opening pair used since Australia accelerated left-hander Mark Richardson's decision to retire in 2004 although whether they remain intact for the tour of Sri Lanka in August remains to be seen.
Guptill's average of 27.20 is not a fair reflection of the 22-year-old's talent and his ability to adapt to the limited overs formats will see him retained for the foreseeable future.
McIntosh may be on edge, however, after a test average of better than 60 against the West Indies halved to 32.12.he left-hander made 60 runs at an average of 12 an innings against India with a top score of 32.
"We need to grab the initiative by having the top three batting for 40-45 overs," the NZPA quoted Moles, as saying.
With the dry, spin friendly pitches in Sri Lanka looming, Moles said preparations for that tour involved an A team tour to India.
He hoped there would also be scope for the bowlers to train outdoors in Australia over the winter months.
Moles debriefed the team today and said preparations for Sri Lanka were a priority for those players not included in the Twenty20 squad.
"We've had a good chat with all the guys, we'll be working on a lot of technical things over the winter before Sri Lanka," he said.
"We have a lot of time to get ready."
He said every player under consideration for the national side over the next 18 months would be given a day-to-day fitness and skills programme over winter.
Moles, meanwhile, admitted a three-loss four-draw test record at the end of his first summer had been frustrating because New Zealand could not capitalise on the occasions they dominated.
"I can't say I've thoroughly enjoyed it. It's been frustrating at times when we've made silly mistakes. (ANI)