Don’t blame White Ferns’ losses on lack of mental toughness: Oram

Auckland, March 19 (IANS) New Zealand women’s team bowling coach, former Blackcaps player Jacob Oram, has said that people shouldn’t blame perceived lack of mental toughness to his side’s string of losses in the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup.

Title favourites New Zealand women are struggling for survival after three losses in five league games. The White Ferns only have four points from five outings so far and it’s a must-win situation for them in the remaining two matches.

They take on defending champions England — another side that has underperformed here — on Sunday in the first of the two do-or-die clashes.

Oram gave an honest review of their recent showing, saying the side had the skills to go all the way. The White Ferns came into the mega event on the back of a highly-successful ODI series against 2017 Women’s World Cup runners-up India, winning 4-1.

The former pace bowler said people should not blame the White Ferns’ losses on lack of mental toughness.

“That’s run individually, with something like mental skills you can’t have a one size fits all,” Oram told SENZ Mornings on Saturday.

“In today’s world you’ve got to be really careful. Does mental skills mean sticking to you game plan and mental toughness? Does it mean wellness and mental health? We live in a COVID bubble, does it mean keeping people fresh and making sure people mentally are on the right track?

“I don’t think you can just throw a blanket over it and call it all mental health with regards to what is going on. I think you need to be a little bit careful and sensitive around using that,” Oram opined.

However, while the 43-year-old Oram cautioned people against criticising his team’s mentality, he admitted that something wasn’t clicking.

“I think you’ve seen us lose a lot of close games lately, and I don’t think it’s because of skill. I think we’re getting ourselves into these positions to win and not getting over the line. Whether it’s quote-unquote ‘mental toughness’ or it’s our tactical decisions, or it’s an awareness thing I’m not sure.

“Look we lost the game because we probably fell 30/40 runs short of where we should’ve got to and that’s the bottom line. I think the fork in the road for the match was the back end of our batting.”

Oram said that rather than doing a post-mortem of the defeats, he would prefer to look at remaining two games, which are “almost like an eliminator”.

“Sunday’s game against England is almost like an eliminator. Almost like a quarterfinal really. I know we’ve still got Pakistan next weekend, but we just have to win it. If we don’t it’s pretty much over for us, but even if we do win, because of results it might not fall our way,” said Oram.