West Indies tour of New Zealand, 2005-06 February 9, 2006

Weary King slams ICC-dictated itinerary

Cricinfo staff



West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul faces the media on his team's arrival in Auckland © Getty Images

West Indies arrived in New Zealand on Friday for a five one-day international and three-Test series, but no sooner had coach Bennett King landed in Auckland than he became embedded in controversy, accusing the ICC's Future Tours Programme of benefiting the rich at the expense of the poor.

West Indies landed in Auckland after a marathon journey that took almost four days, and King wasn't entirely sure about them being able to recover in time for the first ODI in a week. When asked about the itinerary, King admitted there was nothing that could be done because of the way the FTP operates - arriving early would have increased the costs for the West Indies board and it is strapped for cash.

"That's how it goes and we can't do much about it," King told reporters. "We, like New Zealand, suffer under the conditions of the FTP in terms of our finances. We've had to fly for a long time to get here, and a week lead-in to the first game is right on the cusp of not being ready. It would be much better to have been here with a two-week lead-in, but if we did that we'd have to pay for it ourselves."

The concerns are exacerbated because West Indies' last one-dayer was in August 2005 and few of the side have any experience of Supersubs or Powerplays.

However, King remained upbeat about West Indies' chances of achieving their first away Test series win since 1995. "It's another big tour and more big opportunities for the players," he was reported as saying by The Hindu. "We are focused on playing good, hard cricket."

New Zealand was the last country where West Indies tasted away success, with a 1-0 Test win. In the last two series between thesetwo sides, New Zealand have won three out of four Tests with a draw being the other result. The tour will start with a Twenty20 match on February 16 in Auckland. Brian Lara, Test cricket's highest run-scorer, will join the side for the Tests.

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