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Batting frailties concern Hesson ahead of World Cup

"As a batting unit we didn't fire in terms of the balance we wanted to put out there" - Hesson © Getty
Following the ODI series loss at home against England, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson expressed his concerns about the batting order, which has failed to fire in unison. New Zealand's batting lineup let them down once again in the final ODI at Christchurch on Saturday (March 10) as they were reeling at 93 for 6 at one stage before recovering to post a modest 223 on the board. A strong England batting order then breezed past the target to clinch the series 3-2.
"As a batting unit we didn't fire in terms of the balance we wanted to put out there," Hesson said. "We went in with a batting-heavy line up and it'd be fair to say we never got ourselves in a position to utilise that.
"We didn't allow ourselves to use the power we have at the back end. That's something we are going to have to look at."
Hesson pointed out the batsmen's failure to complement each other. Even though the scoreline suggests that the series was closely fought, New Zealand were saved on a couple of occasions due to the individual brilliance of Ross Taylor, who scored hundreds in both their victories. In his absence, the middle order crumbled in the final ODI. "We were consistent in our selection throughout," Hesson said. "Sometimes the top order were unable to set it up, sometimes the middle order were unable to capitalise.
"We've got three guys who average over 40 in ODI cricket (Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor) and others, like Tom Latham, making good contributions. But we're not combining as well as we should."
New Zealand may have to rethink their opening combination with Colin Munro failing to replicate his T20 heroics in the 50-over format at the top of the order. Munro, who recently revealed his desire to focus only on white-ball cricket, scored only 56 runs in the series including a couple of ducks and with Martin Guptill also struggling for big scores, New Zealand found themselves in a spot of bother in every game right at the start with no fruitful opening stands. "It's pretty fair (to say) that our top-order hasn't set the platform, think that's pretty clear," Hesson pointed out.
"Colin is a very destructive player and finding the tempo in one-day cricket is certainly still a work-on for him, but we still see him as a very good prospect."
With just 15 months left for the World cup, New Zealand find themselves in a tricky situation to set things right especially with their next ODI assignment being six months away. Following that away series against Pakistan, New Zealand will then play 11 ODIs at home against Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.
"We don't play one-day cricket for at least six to eight months, so there's plenty of thinking to be done," Hesson admitted. "We have an A-series between now and then which will allow us to look at other players, but I think the players based on previous performances earned the right to play this series.
"Collectively we weren't where we needed to be so we'll certainly have to look at the balance of things."
For now, the focus will switch to red-ball cricket as New Zealand prepare to face England in a two-match Test series at home. The team management has decided not to risk Taylor by not playing him in the two-day game for New Zealand XI against the visitors in order to ensure the veteran is fully fit in time for the first Test.
"We're not going to force it too soon," Hesson said. "We know how to work with Ross in terms what he needs to be ready for the Test but certainly won't put it at risk by pushing him too hard."
Wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling, who missed the Tests against Windies recently with an injury, is expected to return to the set-up having fully recovered.

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