New Zealand news June 25, 2012

Mills prepares for Gayle challenge

ESPNcricinfo staff

Kyle Mills, the New Zealand seamer, has said West Indies opener Chris Gayle will test New Zealand's bowlers on the upcoming tour of the USA and the Caribbean, which starts with two Twenty20s in Florida on June 30.

The New Zealand squad left for the tour on Sunday to play two Twenty20s, five ODIs and two Tests. Mills said that though West Indies lost their last two series against Australia and England, the inclusion of Gayle will give them a huge boost. "(Gayle is) the hottest batsman in the world at the moment," Mills told New Zealand Herald. "He's going to have his moments where he's on top of you. It's how you respond to that. It's a test of character and a test of you as an international cricketer. Personally I'm really looking forward to it."

Mills, 33, said that his side will rely on the experience of its bowling attack to make early inroads. "We need to be ready from ball one. The quicker the bowlers find their rhythm the better off we'll be. People like Jacob (Oram), Tim (Southee) and myself have been around the circuit a wee while so we've got a really good understanding of our own game and what needs to be done."

Mills added that while New Zealand had a fair idea about what kind of conditions to expect in the West Indies, they were less prepared for the two T20 matches in Florida. "The wicket wasn't the best (in 2010). It was a slow wicket and it wasn't a very high scoring game.

"They think it's going to be a bouncier wicket this time, which I'm sure will bode well for the batsmen. But it's a great opportunity for New Zealand to showcase the game of cricket in a foreign country where there's massive potential for the game to grow."

Mills said he used the three-month gap in the international calendar to work on his bowling variations. "In the off season I've been doing a lot of rehab, a lot of work on my game and the last four weeks have come around pretty quickly, but I've really been looking forward to it.

"I've really concentrated on a few slower balls, because from my understanding over in the West Indies they're going to be low slow wickets."

Edited by Carlyle Laurie