New Zealand coach Gary Stead has admitted that his team's confidence has taken a "bit of a knock" after their 3-0 defeat in Australia. The visitors don't have a very good record in Australia anyway but this particular series was expected to be closer, given New Zealand's record on the road recently and their No.2 ranking in Tests.
"First of all, we were outplayed by a very good Australian side," Stead said in Sydney on Tuesday (January 9). "Kane said it yesterday - they applied pressure to us and we certainly didn't handle it as well as what they did back to us as well. It's really disappointing. I think everyone in the team is hurting and hurting a lot around it - we wanted to perform better than this and Australia didn't allow us to.
"I think there's no doubt the team has probably taken a bit of a confidence knock as everyone does when this happens when you're over here but I think we need to go back to thinking that we've played some very, very good Test series in New Zealand. After this, that's still likely to take a small chink in the armour but we've got to go back and regroup, dress ourselves down a bit, have a look in the mirror and ask ourselves 'how do we get better?'"
New Zealand have India, the number-one ranked Test side, visiting them next for a full series, which includes two Test matches towards the end of the tour. Though Stead has advised against "knee-jerk reactions", he mentioned a few things that need to be improved upon.
"It's not like we have thousands and thousands of cricketers that allows us to make wholesale changes," Stead said. "One of the key things will be assessing injuries. This tour hasn't been kind to us. It has the potential to leave some holes depending on their recovery time. That might mean more opportunity for a different crop of people to be looked at.
"No doubt about it, India are equally a strong team as well so the challenge that they'll bring will be big for us... We've got the T20 World Cup further down the track, I think it's 22-23 matches away now and we're still honing the way we want to play and who we see fitting into roles and learning as much as we can before we hit that tournament."