Sammy hopes to learn India lesson
Darren Sammy hopes the more laid back environment provided by a tour of New Zealand will help his side recover from the two heavy Test defeats they suffered in India.
West Indies could barely be facing more contrasting conditions: the heat and intensity of the subcontinent, dominated by Sachin Tendulkar's farewell, have been replaced by the calm, green, temperate New Zealand.
After a 30-hour journey that took them from India via Dubai, Bangkok, Sydney and then a night in Christchurch, where they met up with the advance party of Test players who have been facing a New Zealand XI, the squad arrived on a breezy, showery Dunedin today.
"One minute you are in India in the hot, sunny atmosphere and the next you are in Dunedin where the breeze can blow you off your feet," Sammy said, reflecting on the life of the international cricketer.
He acknowledged that the change in conditions will be a tough test for his side - who are without the injured Chris Gayle at the top of the order - although he will have taken solace from seeing Shivnarine Chanderpaul making runs in the warm-up fixture.
"The quick turnaround from India, getting used to the conditions and adapting as quickly as possible will pose a challenge," Sammy said. "India was a lesson for us, to show us where we are compared to the top teams in the world. Now we are playing a team where we are evenly matched. They will know conditions very well and for around three-quarters of our squad it's their first time here."
Sammy was being generous with the three-quarter estimate: now that Gayle is absent, only two of the squad - Chanderpaul and Denesh Ramdin - have Test experience in New Zealand, and Ramdin averages 7.14 in his five matches.
"It's a new environment," Sammy added. "India is cricket crazy and it was all about Sachin - the media was all crazy, but here the guys can relax with not so many cameras in their faces all the time and we can focus more on the game."
The squad is not yet at its full complement with Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels having travelled to Perth for tests on their bowling actions after being reported in India. Ottis Gibson, the coach, is with them and the trio are due to arrive in Dunedin over the weekend. Currently, Shillingford and Samuels remain available for the first Test although that could change if the outcome of the testing goes against them.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo