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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 March 2021

The Black Caps' eye on big prize next year

There was something stirring in division two of international cricket last week: New Zealand, the sport's dark horses, were beaten at their own game.

There was something stirring in division two of international cricket last week: New Zealand, the sport's dark horses, were beaten at their own game.

Not surprisingly, their thrashing in a one-day international tour of Bangladesh, a side so long derided as the minnows of world cricket, was not well received back at home.

A committee was set up to investigate the reasons behind the capitulation. It decided the players should be given a chance to right the wrongs when they take on India, the world's No 1 Test side, in India. That will be no easy task.

New Zealand supporters might claim the series whitewash was part of an elaborate ploy to achieve World Cup success next year. Lower expectations, then small triumphs get taken to represent success.

The Black Caps are the polar opposite of their more celebrated sporting compatriots, the All Blacks rugby union team.

Although many experts say it will just not happen that way again next year, the rugby team have made a habit of sweeping all before them in between World Cups, then tripping up when the big prize comes into view.

The last time their respective sides played at World Cup finals, the low-ranking cricketers were within an ace of reaching the final, while the rugby players slumped in the last eight.

It is happening again. The All Blacks are out of sight ahead of their rivals, while Daniel Vettori's men are clinging on to the precipice at the other end. For differing reasons, both sides will be keen to point out the real prizes are not being handed out until next year.

pradley@thenational.ae

Published: October 25, 2010 04:00 AM