Kiwis must close gap against Australia, says editorial

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Wellington, Apr.3 (ANI): New Zealand Cricket's focus must be on closing the gap against Australia, says an editorial in the New Zealand Herald.

While this country remains highly competitive in the limited-overs games, a considerable gulf continues to exist between the two countries in test cricket.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that some of this season's problems were self-inflicted. The bowling stocks at the start of summer were reasonable, particularly with Shane Bond returning to the fold.

Yet he was soon to depart, the victim of injury after he was asked to carry a heavy load in the first-test victory over Pakistan. Better management would surely have extended his test career.

Likewise, Ian O'Brien left for England just when his bowling seemed to have a new potency. If strenuous attempts to retain his services were not made, they should have been.

More fundamentally, it is apparent that too many batsmen struggle to step up from first-class level to the test arena.

With the improvement of pitches throughout the country, the likes of Peter Ingram have amassed a substantial number of Plunket Shield runs.

But when such prolific scorers came under the Australian microscope, they struggled.

The answer must be a greater emphasis on New Zealand "A" tours, where emerging players are encouraged, and technical flaws detected and addressed.

Perhaps the only solace for cricket supporters is that New Zealand's next outing will be at the Twenty20 championship in the Caribbean. (ANI)

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