Wellington: Former New Zealand player and coach Mark Greatbatch has raised questions about the current crop of Kiwi batsmen's ability to cope with spin bowling after the Indian spinners wreaked havoc to beat them by an innings and 115 runs in the first Test in Hyderabad.
Greatbatch said although the Kiwis are being taught a lot about playing spin, it remains unclear whether they have been absorbing the information and putting it to use.
"You can only teach them so much; they have to take it on board and I'm questioning whether or not they are. In the last four or five years, there have been people who have worked with players on playing spin and you'd have to question whether or not the information being delivered and talked about is being held on to," he told Fairfax NZ News.
Greatbatch, who played 41 Tests for New Zealand, said the batsmen have failed to improve in handling spinners. "The top 20 to 30 fringe players have had access to resources and coaches - you name it, they've had it, but they're not getting any better in that department.
"A cynic would ask if all that information they've been given is any good, but when you have guys like John Wright, myself, John Bracewell, Andy Moles, Martin Crowe and Richard Hadlee involved, you'd suggest we know a thing or two about it," he insisted.
New Zealand were bowled out for 159 and 164 in the first Test, and 18 of their 20 wickets fell to the India spinners, R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, with the final seven wickets falling for just 26 runs on the fourth evening.
After the match, captain Ross Taylor had said that his team's capitulation was more to do with a mental block against spin than technical shortcomings.
Greatbatch, meanwhile, insisted that during the second Test, scheduled to begin in Bangalore on Friday, the batsmen must look to get on the front foot as much as possible. "I'm not saying they have to go forward, but they have to (at least) look to; it's easier to go back from there if you need to, but going forward once you've gone back is much harder," he said.