Ex-Oz coach John Buchanan claims Kiwis struggle as batting unit in CWC

Former Australian cricket team coach John Buchanan has claimed that New Zealand struggles as a batting unit and insisted that it is a worrying concern for them in this World Cup.

Buchanan, who won two World Cups as Australia’s coach, was supposed to plot New Zealand’s course to win the 2015 edition of the tournament. He was hired on a four-year contract in 2011 as New Zealand’s director of cricket but resigned from his role 18 months ago.

Although Buchanan has tipped New Zealand to make the final in Melbourne on March 29, he has warned the team to be wary of their struggles as a batting unit, Stuff.co.nz reported.

New Zealand’s batting is of concern to him, particularly what happened against Australia last Saturday at Eden Park when they were nearly mowed over chasing 152.

Buchanan said that New Zealand have been playing quite consistently, but added that he believes it is a bit of a concern looking ahead in so far as a low score, good conditions, Mitchell Johnson bowls six overs for 68, Brendon McCullum teeing off as always, yet he added that the team struggles as a batting group to get it 152-9.

The former Australian coach said that New Zealand had a hiccup against Scotland, lost seven wickets chasing 143, adding that they are playing well, they are at the top of their game, and it’s hard to see them not making the final but he insisted that there are a couple of worrying concerns in there.

New Zealand have been a victim of their own success at the tournament. By rolling over Scotland, England and Australia they have not been required to piece together a testing chase.

Two chases were ugly and the other dominated by McCullum. McCullum, 207 runs at an average of 51.75, and Kane Williamson, 149 at 74.50, stand out in run-scoring terms in comparison with their teammates, having scored 356 runs between them, which is the exact aggregate of the other nine players.

Ross Taylor (29 at 9.66), Martin Guptill (99 at 24.75), Grant Elliott (58 at 19.33), Corey Anderson (112 at 37.33) and Luke Ronchi (47 at 23.50) are looking for either form or runs and in some cases both, starting against Afghanistan in Napier on Sunday.

Buchanan believes there is a case to give Tom Latham an opportunity to shore up the middle order. He said that at the moment Guptill is not providing McCullum as much support as he should and Taylor is not putting runs together, though they are both quality players so he added that one would expect them to start to come through.

Buchanan believes that there is a young bloke sitting on the sideline in Latham, who possibly might add something to the side at the moment.

He claimed that Anderson’s a good player, but against reasonable pace was a little at sea, adding that Ronchi is a good hitter, but again would need conditions in his favour.

Buchanan said that Williamson played exceptionally well against Australia, claiming that he is a player well above the age 24 in terms of experience and composure at the crease.

So, the former New Zealand director of cricket said that there are question marks there, but insisted that nonetheless they are a side full of confidence at the moment and that can carry one across the line no matter how many players are not playing as well as they should.