New Zealand v West Indies, 2008-09 December 6, 2008

'Ripper' New Zealand on right track - Crowe

Cricinfo staff

Tim McIntosh is in the form of his life, says Martin Crowe © Getty Images

Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain who was a vocal critic of the previous coaching regime, has expressed his happiness with the new-look team announced on Saturday to take on West Indies. The New Zealand selectors had made several changes, including dropping opener Aaron Redmond and fast bowler Chris Martin, and recalled Mark Gillespie besides calling up opener Tim McIntosh.

"The team selected for the first Test is a ripper. Batsmen like McIntosh, in the form of his life, and quickies like Gillespie, charging in fit and strong, is fantastic news," he told New Zealand's Sunday News.

Other changes to the squad include the recall of allrounder James Franklin and the return of Jacob Oram from injury. "With Oram back fit too and Brendon McCullum finding form in Adelaide, the team now have, with the skipper [Daniel Vettori] and the return of James Franklin, the most explosive multi-talented allrounders in the game. This lower order is arguably the strongest NZ has ever selected.

"There is a powerful look to the whole squad and, along with a smaller support group, these men will prosper in this series and going forward."

Earlier this week, Crowe had called New Zealand's innings-defeat to Australia in Adelaide "our worst moment in Test cricket" and the five years under former coach John Bracewell, who stepped down after that loss, "probably the most destructive to our game in the history of our game."

He had also been particularly harsh on opener Redmond, who he felt "never was a Test player and never will be''. However, Crowe apologised for the comments on Redmond, who had a rough first year of Test cricket, averaging 23 in seven Tests. "It was uncalled for given how tough Test cricket is and he has only been in it for less than 12 months."