Aotearoa White Ferns coach Haidee Tiffen won't be at the helm come Rose Bowl time as the coach of the kiwi women's cricket team takes some time off to ponder an apparently rough review via NZC. This review came after a reasonably crappy World T20 in which the White Ferns couldn't step up against the better teams, although this World T20 campaign was reflective of a generally mediocre period for the kiwi women's team.
Struggles against the world's best had and continues to be a trend for the White Ferns. This is a bummer because there was a window in which the Ferns genuinely competed with the likes of England, India and Australia, often winning games in the two formats. At some point though, they didn't just hit a plateau, the White Ferns started losing games against those teams consistently and heavily.
Obviously some stuff has held the kiwis back, behind the scenes and the review into the World T20 struggles may have highlighted this. This is far more complex than some niggle between the coach and players though as the rise of women's cricket around the world, led by greater professional opportunities and investment in the women's game, hasn't been matched in Aotearoa.
Of course, as is always the case now, progress is celebrated as being an amazing step forward. Yet while other nations have improved in all aspects of the sport (from skill to salary), the steps forward in Aotearoa have been minor steps that in very general terms do not resemble the immense developments of other nations. I believe this is most evident in the lack of contributions from younger/fringe White Ferns who step into international cricket, thus leaving the Suzie Bates, Amy Satterthwaite and Sophie Devine to do much of the on-field work.
For players who are good enough to take part in the franchise T20 competitions and earn contracts for various formats around the world, they can continue to improve and match the rise of women's cricket. For those young players coming into the White Ferns or those moving from domestic to international cricket, it's fairly obvious that they are not adequately prepared to contribute consistently.
During the ODI series vs India, I highlighted individuals and there lack of contributions in terms of runs and wickets. Now isn't the time to go down that route, other than saying that you only need to long at series stats over a fairly long time period (24 months) and see that young/fringe players are not among the best performers. That's not for a series here, a series there, that's consistently and you ain't competing in this world of women's cricket with a few reliable players.
To swing back around to coach Tiffen; White Ferns mediocrity can't be pinned on Tiffen.
Again, this is complex. There was the Bates stepping down as captain stuff and one of the few White Ferns who is deemed good enough to play in Women's Big Bash League (Australia) and Super League (England) in Rachel Priest, isn't viewed good enough to play in the Aotearoa T20 team. With regards to Priest, it feels like that there are various factors at work there, but this just reminds us how complex everything is.
That is to say that these situations or things are happening under Tiffen's watch, so one could connect the dots and see the niggly vibe in the White Ferns camp. Then again, Tiffen doesn't have the best resources to work with and this may influence how she coaches, along with the vibe of the camp.
Bob Carter is going to take charge of the White Ferns for the Rose Bowl. In these situations, you can expect to a point, the bounce back factor or fresh vibes factor in which the players rally behind the new coach and the new vibe around the team to start winning. This may be the case vs Australia and via their performances, we may see that there were very real issues in the White Ferns with Tiffen as coach.
That would only be scratching the surface though, because my gut feel is that Australia enjoy Rose Bowl success simply because they are better. Having listened to Ellyse Perry on the Howie Games podcast recently, women's cricket in Australia is in a great position and heading into the Rose Bowl, Australia are superior in all aspects.
To blame Tiffen for that, is wrong. As Peter McGlashan pointed out recently, there is a long way to go before any slither of equality in cricket is found. Us kiwis like to pretend that we are doing well, yet that's a blatant lie and instead of being the trail-blazing kiwis that Aotearoa is known for, we are falling behind in women's cricket. That's not Tiffen's fault.
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Peace and love 27.