Let’s hope for a contest
I HOPE for the sport's sake the Kiwis can field a full strength side for the remaining Test matches this summer.
While plenty are still waxing lyrical about the performances of Dave Warner in particular, it'd be sage to put it in context with the quality of opposition, and pitches presented.
The Pakistanis were, for the most part, woeful.
A few individual performances aside, their fielding was subpar at best and they were simply not in the contest.
The pitches being served up so far were, to the fear of any genuine lover of the sport, lacking the life we'd have liked.
The counterargument, that the Aussies rolled the opposition a number of times with ball in hand, does little to shore up defence of the pitches.
It merely highlights how inept the visiting team's batting performances were for the best part.
I'd love nothing more than to see a full-strength Blackcaps outfit square off on a pacy Perth pitch, a turning SCG and a green top in Hobart.
Instead I fear we may end up with three fairly docile batting paradises which could take away from what are two of the better bowling attacks in the world game.
I'm a massive fan of Kane Williamson, the little genius Kiwi skipper.
For all the plaudits the likes of Smith and Warner get, for the purist, it's hard to go past the technically-brilliant talents of Williamson.
The 29-year-old whiz averages a clip under 53 after 76 Tests, and that climbs to 55 in Australia at a healthy strike rate of 65.
To watch him play is to watch batting how it's meant to be done.
Forget the fidgety quirks of a Smith, the flashy, footwork-free slashing of Warner.
Williamson is the sort of guy any young player should be modelling their game around.
The same could be said about Marnus Labuschagne.
I love watching the way he goes about his business.
It's simple, uncomplicated and very effective.
For all the headlines and hubris of the past week, the simple facts are these.
We are still the fifth-ranked Test nation in the world.
We are highly effective at home, and our faults are heavily exposed time and again abroad.
Sure we retained the Ashes. but it was a drawn series, and one heavily reliant on input from three batsman in particular.
I don't understand, aside from the commercially obvious of having a national team capable of grinding all comers into the dust anywhere at home, the benefit in not producing pitches and conditions which deliver a genuine contest.
This visit from the Kiwis, who are sitting second in world at present, looms as a perfect advertisement for quality Test cricket with captive audiences glued to the action over the festive period.
Please don't turn it into a runfest for the sake of it.
Let's see genuine contests between bat and ball, and batsmen prevailing on technique and watchfulness, not just trusting a line and muscling.