TODAY |

Black Caps standing by Jeet Raval despite horror run with the bat

Despite growing noise from critics and commentators alike, the Black Caps are keeping their faith in out-of-form opener Jeet Raval ahead of their Test series against Australia.

Jeet Raval, left, leaves after being dismissed as Sri Lankan team members celebrate during the third day of the first test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Source: Associated Press

Raval has struggled immensely with the bat recently, averaging just 9.1 runs in his last seven Test innings with his highest score in any form of first-class cricket since last February 33.

In the recent high-scoring draw at Seddon Park against England, Raval only managed scores of five and zero - the duck coming after he failed to appeal a clear inside edge that would've reversed an initial LBW decision.

Read more:
Who next if not Raval? A look at the Black Caps' opening contenders
Former Black Cap says 'out of form' opener Jeet Raval must be dropped for Australia Test series
Jeet Raval on battling crippling nerves and a maiden Test century that's so far eluded him

Despite the numbers and form though, Black Caps coach Gary Stead is standing by Raval.

"Jeet didn't have a strong series but we've got confidence in him as an opening bat," Stead said.

"He's got a very good record with Tom [Latham] and they've forged a really strong opening partnership for us.

"He eats into a good number of balls – 75 balls on average – and he's done it over a good period of time so far. I'm confident he can get us away to the start that we want."

The support extends to the rest of the squad too, with veteran batsman Ross Taylor showing sympathy with Raval during an interview with Radio Sport.

"It was unfortunate with him nicking the ball and not referring it," Taylor said of the missed LBW appeal.

"That's going to play with your confidence, but as a senior player and as a team we're rallying around him and trust that he'll do everything possible to change his fortunes.

"It's got to be tough [not scoring runs], it's not an easy place to be. Cricket is a game where – especially as an opener – it's tough to hide; you've got their best bowlers coming in at you."

Captain Kane Williamson also had some strong support for Raval.

"He's a class player, opening is tough but he's definitely mentally strong enough and technically good enough to survive at this level.

"He just needs a bit of luck here and there and once he takes that I'm sure he'll be fine."