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February 20, 2006
New Zealand are eyeing the possibility of fielding two spinners in the shorter version of the game as they prepare for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.
John Bracewell, the national coach, said that it was with Caribbean conditions in mind that Jeetan Patel, the rookie offspinner, was being groomed to partner Daniel Vettori. "We're going to have to be prepared to play two spinners the way the West Indians are used to bowling in their own conditions. They're changing their pace and have a lot of medium pace slow bowlers, so we have to start developing that style," he told the New Zealand Herald. "It's something we have to get used to, something we have to evolve if we're going to be competitive all around the world."
Patel, 25, bowled in tandem with Vettori in New Zealand's 81-run win over West Indies at Wellington on Sunday, and Bracewell's comments hint at the spin combo coming together on a regular basis. Pitches in the West Indies and subcontinent tend to die late in the second half of a match playing into slow bowlers' hands. Prior to the World Cup is the coveted Champions Trophy in India in October, where the conditions are suited to spinners.
"We've a major tournament in India, a major tournament in March in the West Indies, and major tournament in Australia (VB Series next January), so we have to evolve a bowling attack that can win in three different continents," Bracewell said.
Jamie How, impressive in the five matches he has played in, was another option Bracewell - a former Test offspinner - had in mind. The 24-year-old opener has turned his arm over in domestic matches, and the coach was keen to mention this. "It's always handy to have a bowler that's in your top-order," he said. "You always like having that bowling back-up in your squad and I believe that we should give the captain (at least) six (bowling options)."
New Zealand and West Indies travel to Queenstown to contest the second match of the five-match one-day series on Wednesday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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