Mark Richardson rocked as a cricketer. He started off as a number 11 left arm spin bowler and ended up a NZ test opener with one of the best records of any NZ test opener, only Glen Turner can match him in terms of averages! The thing that was brilliant about Mark Richardson is that he played to his strengths and within his limitations. He was rudely exposed in One Day cricket, but in test cricket, he played to his strengths.
The England rugby team demonstrated the same at the recent world cup. They played brilliantly to their strengths, forward brutality and Johnny W kicking teams off the park.
South Africa too dominated in the same way. Brilliant line out, great half back, awesome defence, and picked up the scraps with their devastatingly quick wings.
NZ on the other hand to me had an identity crisis and have fatal flaws. They want to play the razzle dazzle game but in the quarter final lost their mojo. They tried to play like England. Through the season they dropped too much ball. They are a team that has to work out their strengths and play to them. We need the Mark Richardson factor.
One more example. Two netball world cups ago, we consistently lost to Australia. We had brilliant players but the team made too many errors and lacked consistency. Eventually they settled and began to reduce the error rate and played to their strengths, especially Irene van Dyk. They won the last world cup and commonwealth games.
To me the AB's have to develop a solid game plan with a reduced error rate, but maintaining their attacking superiority over other teams. We need the Richardson factor. We need to isolate our areas of superiority and become increasingly brilliant at them. Then a very good team may become a great team.