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Matt Henry Was Selected Over Tim Southee For Extra Pace That He Brings: Gary Stead

New Zealand's Matt Henry celebrates after picking wicket. ( Photo Credit: AP )

New Zealand's Matt Henry celebrates after picking wicket. ( Photo Credit: AP )

After former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum questioned the team's decision to pick Matt Henry over Tim Southee for the Sydney Test against Australia, New Zealand coach Gary Stead has thrown some light on the decision, saying that Henry was picked for the extra pace that he brought to the table over Southee.

After former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum questioned the team's decision to pick Matt Henry over Tim Southee for the Sydney Test against Australia, New Zealand coach Gary Stead has thrown some light on the decision, saying that Henry was picked for the extra pace that he brought to the table over Southee.

After Australia ended the day on 283/3, Stead said speaking after the day's play, "We just felt that we wanted a little bit more pace out there with what Matt Henry offers over Tim.

"And given the workload Tim's had – not just in the last two Tests, but if you put the last four together (including the two-Test series against England) it's somewhere around 200 overs in a short period of time.

"We just felt that what Matt offered might have given us a point of difference.

"Naturally he (Southee) was disappointed, but I'd expect that of any player who got that message from me."

Stead also spoke about how he briefly considered playing both Henry and Southee, which would have meant that either of WIll Somerville or Todd Astle would have been left out of the starting lineup. However, after looking at the pitch, the decision to persist with both spinners was made.

"When you looked at the wicket, it looked as though it was a wicket that had been used in the past," Stead said.

"Apparently it hasn't been, but it looked that way and two days ago when we were here for training they had put quite a bit of moisture into it and thrown grass clippings on it, which is usually a pretty good sign that it's very dry.

"So once the decision was made to play two spinners, then it was about how we managed those quick bowlers."

Meanwhile, McCullum questioned the application and attitude of the New Zealand players on the field, saying that most of them were simply not in the game.

"You talk about a lack of senior players within the side, and you talk about the impact it can have and I think today of you look at the New Zealand side – who were under immense pressure no doubt – there's been a distinct lack of body language and intensity," McCullum said during commentary with Channel Seven.

"It hasn't seemed like the same spring in the step as the side that arrived in Australia just a couple of weeks back.

Yes, there's a lot of injuries and illnesses and things haven't gone according to plan, but one thing you can control is the attitude you bring to the park, when you're desperate to play for your country.

"It's just not acceptable, from a New Zealand point of view.

"You look at Tom Latham the skipper and you've got to say of all the players out there today he's had some energy and a spring in his step.

"He's tried to rally his troops.

"He's trying to bring that positivity, that energy but there's no-one going with him.

"A few years ago when there was some good, hard, honest discussions within the cricket environment and side, one of the things that was committed to was to always bring about your best game in the field, your total and utter commitment to the cause - you leave it all out there.

"We've seen it from Neil Wagner, he's done it throughout the series but there's not enough out there for my liking and for a representation of the New Zealand cricket team.

"Sometimes in this game, you need honesty and you need tough messages and it's not always about drinking the bath water and total support.

"I'm all for confidence and giving guys pats on the back, but every now and then then you need a tough message and you need a reality check.

"Only then can you look at yourself and say 'did I put in, and could I have put in more?'.

"It just feels to me as if there's a little bit too much acceptance of the position New Zealand find themselves in.

"I just want to see them fight, to see them fight hard and all the way through."