West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Kingston June 7, 2014

First test for new-look West Indies

47

Match Facts

June 8-12, 2014, Kingston
Start time 1000 (1500 GMT)

The Big Picture

West Indies have undergone a shake-up since they last appeared in whites. Darren Sammy has retired from Tests, Denesh Ramdin is captain now and their bowling looks vastly different. Kemar Roach has returned to full fitness. The selectors have also recalled Jerome Taylor, who will hope to end a four-year wait since his last Test cap, and made a last-minute decision to recruit Jason Holder.

The penetrative ability of West Indies' bowling has been a concern for a while but this squad - with Sulieman Benn and the returning Shane Shillingford as lead spinners - seems to have covered most bases. Sunil Narine was discounted from consideration after he could not meet an ultimatum to join the squad by June 1 owing to IPL commitments.

Shillingford has been a standout performer for his side of late - he has 51 wickets in his last nine Tests - but this series marks his return to international cricket since being suspended for a suspect action and New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has already voiced concern over how he will be monitored.

Recently any West Indies attack has been left mopping up a below-par batting performance. In the last 12 months, they have gone past 300 only twice and have also been guilty of doing well in one innings and failing miserably in the next.

Chris Gayle, who is scheduled to play his 100th Test at his home ground, would be eager to prove his fitness and provide a display befitting the fanfare for the occasion.

For the visitors, combating spin will gain top priority. New Zealand's batting - especially their in-form middle order of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling - does have the capacity to rise above their mental block against quality spin.

Utilising spin is where the greater concern lies. The search for Daniel Vettori's successor has been frustrating. Jeetan Patel complicated the situation when he remained with Warwickshire and withdrew his name from consideration for this tour. The result is that Ish Sodhi, with six Tests to his name, will feature as lead spinner. The 21-year old legspinner has shown some control and also glimpses of plotting a batsman out. To assist him is Mark Craig, a 27-year old offspinner who is yet to make his New Zealand debut.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

West Indies LLDLL
New Zealand DWWWD

Watch out for

The vacancy resulting from Sammy's retirement has paved way for one of West Indies' most promising fast bowlers to return to the national fold. Jerome Taylor has not played a Test since November 2009. A troublesome back and hip have cost him several opportunities, but he returned to first-class cricket this season and finished as Jamaica's second-leading wicket-taker in the Regional Four Day Competition.

Kane Williamson is New Zealand's anchor. His technical purity assists in combating most adversities and swift and assured footwork ensures he is well-placed to tackle spin - he made 42 of the team's 60 as Rangana Herath ran rampant in the World T20. A rich season in 2013-14 has identified him as one of the most dependable batsmen in the current Test circuit.

Team news

New Zealand drained the two practice games they had to the fullest as Jamaica Select XI's openers batted twice in the second innings of the second match and the bowlers continued even after the home side was all out. Two notable positives were the performances of Sodhi, who picked up a five-wicket haul, and Craig, who claimed eight victims across two games. However, they suffered a pre-Test blow when Corey Anderson was ruled out with a neck injury. Concern also surrounds the opening combination. Both Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford have had lean seasons and Tom Latham, if picked, would be playing his second Test. Hesson had hinted at having settled on which two would head the batting order, but said it was a toss-up between Neil Wagner and Craig depending on how they assessed the pitch.

New Zealand (probable) 1 & 2 Two out of Hamish Rutherford/ Tom Latham/Peter Fulton, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt), 6 Jimmy Neesham, 7 BJ Watling (wk), 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner/Mark Craig, 11 Trent Boult

West Indies' preparation for the series included a training camp in Barbados under the guidance of Garry Sobers, Curtly Ambrose and Richie Richardson. Gayle occupies the spotlight, both because of his landmark and for his fitness. He looked out of sorts in the IPL and had consulted a specialist in Germany regarding his back problem. Ottis Gibson, their coach, was hopeful of a full recovery. Gayle himself has said he is "fit, ready and raring to go." A late call to include Holder in the squad also indicates he might feature in the XI if they decide against a second spinner.

West Indies (probable) 1 Kieran Powell, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Kraigg Brathwaite/ Kirk Edwards, 7 Denesh Ramdin (capt & wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Sulieman Benn/Jason Holder, 10 Shane Shillingford, 11 Kemar Roach

Pitch and conditions

The surfaces in the Caribbean have got slower in recent times, but the pitch for this match seems to be batsman-friendly. West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin has already said that he will look to bat first if he wins the toss, and that there was something on offer for the spinners from both teams. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said: "Looks a good wicket for batting, it is hard, looks like it has got no real grass, doesn't look overly quick." He also said he didn't expect any sideways movement off the track.

In addition to ground conditions, the visitors would have to account for a hotter climate. West Indies, who had struggled with Dunedin's chilly temperatures at the start of the 2013 series, would prefer the sun to be a more permanent fixture than the forecast of isolated thunder showers.

Stats and trivia

  • Chris Gayle is 67 runs shy becoming the eight West Indian to 7000 runs in Tests

  • Till 2000, spinners averaged 44.64 at Sabina Park. The number has since improved to 28.16

  • Ross Taylor averages 51.25 at No. 4, with 10 of his 11 centuries coming at that position. The last time he batted at a different position was against West Indies in the Kingston Test of 2012. He came in at No. 5 and made a duck

  • In three matches at Sabina Park, Jerome Taylor has taken 19 wickets, including a career-best 5 for 11

Quotes

"Put percentages of how fit I am aside, no matter what, I will be fit, ready and raring to go. I would like to make the fans at Sabina Park happy and that will be my aim for this landmark occasion".
Chris Gayle is all set for his 100th Test

"We need some runs firstly, make sure we get over that 450 in the first innings that we have tried to aim for recently and achieved on occasions. If we do that, it gives us a pretty good starting point to get into the Test match."
Brendon McCullum on why New Zealand need to do

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 8, 2014, 14:53 GMT

    congratulations to Chris Gayle on this milestone. your parents,Rollington Town Primary and XLCR support who had a hand in your development must be feeling proud for the opportunity you gave them.

  • on June 8, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    My WI XI today Gayle Powell Bravo Samuels Chanderpaul Edwards Ramdin Taylor Ben Roach Gabriel

  • on June 8, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    Also @kiwicricketnut, I can guarantee you 99% the team will be for 1st test (as I was discussing options but a team prediction is my bread'n'butter, lolz):

    1/ Rutherford 2/ Latham 3/ Williamson 4/ Taylor 5/ McCullum 6/ Neesham 7/ Watling 8/ Sodhi 9/ Southee 10/ Wagner (far more important than most realise, clearly, especially for reverse swing) 11/ Boult

    When Corey is back you want same team but with Corey back for Neesham? I think that is an out and out waste and there is no rule (think outside of the box) with playing two all-rounders if they bat better than opener competing with them! Thus I would have, when Corey is back: 1/ Latham 2/ Williamson 3/ Taylor 4/ McCullum 5/ Anderson 6/ Watling 7/ Neesham 8/ Sodhi 9/ Southee 10/ Wagner 11/ Boult People out of position? It's where most of them bat domestically. Plus they're young and they'll get over it. If want to drop Sodhi and play an opener instead when it is not spinning pitch, fine, but Neesham and Anderson play! Neesh opening!?

  • on June 8, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut.. For sure! It was my 'bowler-heavy' XI.... they'll go with Rutherford of course... but, batting position is psychological for mine. The best eleven with Corey in it though needs to consider dropping those openers and shifting people up. McCullum out and out said one of them would be 'lucky to be there'... so why play worse players due to 'preparation' superstitions et cetera? Anyway, I'd rather Neesham opened then when Corey back... and my comment was about playing the spin card BECAUSE Corey was out..not by choice. IF they play Fulton or Rutherford and they get 20 or less... Craig may as well have gone in for Corey. "Cos you could argue we are a batter light with Fulton or Rutherford anyway!! The argument that playing everyone one spot up (it's a number really) is worse than sacrificing a valuable spin option & playing a poor batsman when it's only for 1 test is tenuous. Anyway, good luck to both sides, but hoping for a solid opening test from NZ. Let's do it boys!!

  • rkannancrown on June 8, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    Chnaderpaul batting at no.5 means the person who can hold the innings together is batting fat too behind in the batting oreder. Chanderpaul must bat no.3 for WI to be more successful. If Chanderpaul inisists on no.5, then the WI think tank should send two of their bowlers at no.3 & no.4 so that the batting strength is properly deployed.

  • on June 8, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    @Howard Isaacs - the albatross was a ships good luck until someone killed it

  • on June 8, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    windies are missing sarwan n dj bravo best available 11 for WI 1) gayle 2) barthwaite 3) darren bravo 4) sarwan 5) chanderpaul 6) dwayne bravo 7) ramdin 8) rampaul 9) nikita miller/kemar roach 10) narine 11) taylor

  • on June 8, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Chris Gayle fit? What a joke, Gayle has been "fit" in years.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 8, 2014, 11:12 GMT

    For me Powell should bat 6 for W.I and then have either Brathwaite or Edwards opening. Powell has not had good time opening in Test matches and it's hardly a surprise having to learn on the job the hardest position to bat with minimal experience but for me Brathwaite/Edwrads are more solid and offer right hand left hand combo with Gayle. Powells aggressive nature also suits 6 more than those 2 it's a better balance but W.I will overlook this.

  • BlakeHoulihan on June 8, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    I love all kiwi cricket fans, so no disrespect, but for the last time: Williamson, Taylor, McCullum are our 3,4,5. Our all rounder Neesham is 6 (because Anderson is injured), Watling 7, then the four bowlers (Southee, Boult, Sodhi and either Craig or Wagner depending on conditions). Stability in Test cricket is key. The only thing up for debate is the openers and the last bowlers slot - now that is has been revealed the pitch might not be the dust bowl that was expected Wagner is a possibility. The late addition of Jason Holder to the West Indies squad is a strong indication that they too are considering the extra seam bowling option after looking at the pitch. Go Kiwis!

  • on June 8, 2014, 14:53 GMT

    congratulations to Chris Gayle on this milestone. your parents,Rollington Town Primary and XLCR support who had a hand in your development must be feeling proud for the opportunity you gave them.

  • on June 8, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    My WI XI today Gayle Powell Bravo Samuels Chanderpaul Edwards Ramdin Taylor Ben Roach Gabriel

  • on June 8, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    Also @kiwicricketnut, I can guarantee you 99% the team will be for 1st test (as I was discussing options but a team prediction is my bread'n'butter, lolz):

    1/ Rutherford 2/ Latham 3/ Williamson 4/ Taylor 5/ McCullum 6/ Neesham 7/ Watling 8/ Sodhi 9/ Southee 10/ Wagner (far more important than most realise, clearly, especially for reverse swing) 11/ Boult

    When Corey is back you want same team but with Corey back for Neesham? I think that is an out and out waste and there is no rule (think outside of the box) with playing two all-rounders if they bat better than opener competing with them! Thus I would have, when Corey is back: 1/ Latham 2/ Williamson 3/ Taylor 4/ McCullum 5/ Anderson 6/ Watling 7/ Neesham 8/ Sodhi 9/ Southee 10/ Wagner 11/ Boult People out of position? It's where most of them bat domestically. Plus they're young and they'll get over it. If want to drop Sodhi and play an opener instead when it is not spinning pitch, fine, but Neesham and Anderson play! Neesh opening!?

  • on June 8, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut.. For sure! It was my 'bowler-heavy' XI.... they'll go with Rutherford of course... but, batting position is psychological for mine. The best eleven with Corey in it though needs to consider dropping those openers and shifting people up. McCullum out and out said one of them would be 'lucky to be there'... so why play worse players due to 'preparation' superstitions et cetera? Anyway, I'd rather Neesham opened then when Corey back... and my comment was about playing the spin card BECAUSE Corey was out..not by choice. IF they play Fulton or Rutherford and they get 20 or less... Craig may as well have gone in for Corey. "Cos you could argue we are a batter light with Fulton or Rutherford anyway!! The argument that playing everyone one spot up (it's a number really) is worse than sacrificing a valuable spin option & playing a poor batsman when it's only for 1 test is tenuous. Anyway, good luck to both sides, but hoping for a solid opening test from NZ. Let's do it boys!!

  • rkannancrown on June 8, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    Chnaderpaul batting at no.5 means the person who can hold the innings together is batting fat too behind in the batting oreder. Chanderpaul must bat no.3 for WI to be more successful. If Chanderpaul inisists on no.5, then the WI think tank should send two of their bowlers at no.3 & no.4 so that the batting strength is properly deployed.

  • on June 8, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    @Howard Isaacs - the albatross was a ships good luck until someone killed it

  • on June 8, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    windies are missing sarwan n dj bravo best available 11 for WI 1) gayle 2) barthwaite 3) darren bravo 4) sarwan 5) chanderpaul 6) dwayne bravo 7) ramdin 8) rampaul 9) nikita miller/kemar roach 10) narine 11) taylor

  • on June 8, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Chris Gayle fit? What a joke, Gayle has been "fit" in years.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 8, 2014, 11:12 GMT

    For me Powell should bat 6 for W.I and then have either Brathwaite or Edwards opening. Powell has not had good time opening in Test matches and it's hardly a surprise having to learn on the job the hardest position to bat with minimal experience but for me Brathwaite/Edwrads are more solid and offer right hand left hand combo with Gayle. Powells aggressive nature also suits 6 more than those 2 it's a better balance but W.I will overlook this.

  • BlakeHoulihan on June 8, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    I love all kiwi cricket fans, so no disrespect, but for the last time: Williamson, Taylor, McCullum are our 3,4,5. Our all rounder Neesham is 6 (because Anderson is injured), Watling 7, then the four bowlers (Southee, Boult, Sodhi and either Craig or Wagner depending on conditions). Stability in Test cricket is key. The only thing up for debate is the openers and the last bowlers slot - now that is has been revealed the pitch might not be the dust bowl that was expected Wagner is a possibility. The late addition of Jason Holder to the West Indies squad is a strong indication that they too are considering the extra seam bowling option after looking at the pitch. Go Kiwis!

  • on June 8, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    is time wi start wining. please, pretty please.

  • everfaithful77 on June 8, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    I only hope West Indies are sensible with squad selection for 1st test. The common sense approach would be to play the two spinners because New Zealand have shown their problems with spin as recently as the last T20 WC when they were bundled out for 60 odd. In that match left arm spinner Herath was the main destroyer so Benn should be an obvious inclusion along with Shilingford who despite problems with his action has been a prolific wicket taker. But nothing is obvious for Windies these days so I will hold my breath on this one. Also Taylor and Roach if fit should be favoured to share the new ball because of their robust record at this level. The batting line-up also should have a shake-up. Without going into detail this is the what I hope to see based on the 14 players selected: GAYLE, BRATHWAITE, EDWARDS, BRAVO, CHANDERPAUL, SAMUELS, RAMDIN, TAYLOR, SHILINGFORD, ROACH, BENN. However in my opinion this is not the best team West Indies can put together. Wish WINDIES well though.

  • birje.pranay on June 8, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    i like to see bm opening the batting he is not a middle order player so nz should this batting line up 1.b.mccullum2.rutherford3.williamson4.ross5.anderson6.watling7.neesham8.southee9.sodhi10.boult11.wagner

  • kiwicricketnut on June 8, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    @ nikko chunn, cant agree with you this time, yes a number 3 batsman could face the second ball of the innings and while they probably have the physical ability or technique to do that its the mental adjustment that is hardest to make that could potentially derail a batters preperation for a test when batting out of position, the problem with your xi is nearly everyone is batting out of position so now its not just a make shift opener thats uncomfortable, its the whole team and sohdi at 7 in an allready frail batting line up is way too risky, maybe in the future, maybe in the near future but not yet, international batsmen should be able to adjust but i've watched enough international cricket to see that they don't cope with change, i wouldn't rule out your xi but i'd be very surprised if they did.

  • on June 8, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    Min2000- has got the team spot on, you want the 3 best bowlers southee, wagner and boult and 1 spinner, and fulton is to old and under-preforming so Latham.

  • aby_97 on June 8, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    After a long time, WI squad looks settled and balanced barring the exclusion of Sunil Narine.Looking forward to a great Test Series between these two talented teams.

  • pt_pt on June 8, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    For goodness sake dont play Fulton, he is in terrible form and has been struggling for a very long time now. Play latham and Rutherford as the openers, the rest pick themselves.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on June 8, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    NZ bats will've to dig in and pile on big scores and wear down bowlers.On slow pitches in WI its tough to get batsmen out if they apply selves.Taylor,Mac are capable of putting up big 100s and are in form.WIs only w/c bowler is Narine.Hes not playing!

  • on June 8, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    New Zealand Will clutch again.

  • Min2000 on June 8, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    Chance for NZL to show how far they've come since the 2012 tour -- no room for Craig or Fulton. Rutherford, Latham, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum, Neesham, Watling, Sodhi, Southee, Wagner, Boult.

  • on June 8, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    for NZ what happened to todd astle. He has a big spinning leg break. His control wasn't bad either from what I saw (which wasn't much to be honest).

  • 22many on June 8, 2014, 5:09 GMT

    bat first...big score and game over...if Williamson is the anchor, then Taylor is the seabed...

  • on June 8, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    based on form Powell should not start ahead of Brathwaite as CHG's partner, however, I expect Powell to start, I am not convinced Bravo is a number 3, would prefer Edwards at 3, and Bravo/Samule batting at 6. Just not sure KP will fire, question is 5 or 4 bowlers is Holder going to play?

  • on June 8, 2014, 2:37 GMT

    Sammy was destined to fail when he was given Tino Best and Gaybriel as his main bowlers

  • Sachit1979 on June 8, 2014, 1:32 GMT

    I don't think it would be wise to make Wagner sitting out and playing Neesham.

  • on June 8, 2014, 1:13 GMT

    Interestingly an injury to Anderson has resulted in my line-up minus Corey - assuming Neesham just straight swaps with Corey as expected. Corey's misfortune has also sparked further talk of playing one of the openers in Fulton or Rutherford. Sigh. No Williamson opening with Latham for THIS series (to allow 2 spinners plus Williamson) since first drop IS AN OPENER!? Spurious suggestions that he should 'stay at three' make no sense as the number three can feasibly face thirty balls before one of the two openers does - fact. And it is only for ONE/TWO TEST(s) UNTIL COREY IS BACK! Then drop one spinner or Rutherford when he returns. The following is the bowling-heavy team for this first test (but they will go with Craig OR Wagner and play one of the passenger openers.. sigh (again)... Also, the following team only requires swapping Corey for Craig to get the best 11:

    1/ Latham 2/ Williamson 3/ Taylor 4/ McCullum 5/ Neesham 6/ Watling 7/ Sodhi 8/ Craig 9/ Southee 10/ Wagner 11/ Boult

  • aclarity on June 7, 2014, 23:42 GMT

    This is not a New Look team. Who is new? This is a recycled team. Yes, these are just returning residents. The selectors keep looking back. The most consistent bowler in the FC season (Matthews) did not make the training squad. Samuels, Bravo and Powell had very meagre FC season. Holder can hardly make Barbados team but he is on the final 14. Gayle and Dwayne Bravo hardly struck a ball in training but they are eligible for all 3 tests; however, Narine who missed 2 days practice was eliminated. It is evident; WI selection is not based on observation but on history.

  • kentjones on June 7, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    @Riddyman, As regards Sammy, thats just the way things happen at times. Must agree that the bowling looks pretty handy and WI should be able to take 20 NZ wickets. Jerome Taylor should strengthen his batting skills and be a reasonable lower order batsman for WI, since scoring a test ton should be impetus to contribute regularly.

  • kiwicricketnut on June 7, 2014, 22:33 GMT

    shame anderson is out but it has made selecting the playing xi alot easier though with anderson out it does make our batting look a bit light especially now one of either fulton or rutherford has to play, they probably would of anyway despite not being able to buy a run, my guess the team will be 1.rutherford 2.latham 3.williamson 4.taylor 5.mccullum 6.neesham 7.watling 8.sohdi 9.southee 10.boult 11.craig. not an overly strong looking playing xi really fingers crossed they all step up

  • PaddyRasta2 on June 7, 2014, 22:12 GMT

    @Riddymon, Sammy was part of the problem. Batting at eight he was a specialist bowler and weakened the attack. To take twenty wickets, all four bowlers have to be good. Sammy at first change was never going to be effective vs good opposition. Now the fourth bowler will be an effective prospect e.g Holder/ Benn.

  • Rolfardeo on June 7, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    I am really looking forward to this series. Should be competitive between to fairly even teams. West Indies look like a vastly stronger team that the one that played in NZ last summer. I think that WI are definitely favourites, especially at home. But still I am cheering for a NZ series victory. Good to see a potentially decent and full series between teams other than Australia and England. This is a chance for NZ to confirm that they are a team on the rise or for WI to show that their recent poor form is an aberration due mainly to injury. Can't wait!!

  • on June 7, 2014, 21:25 GMT

    WI should play all 5 bowlers (2 spinners & 3 fast). Both Jerome & Jason are pretty handy with the bat as well. Our aim is to Bowl NZ out twice.

  • on June 7, 2014, 20:17 GMT

    This WestIndies team seems to be somewhat balanced than what we are used to seeing. A special thanks to Darren Sammy, he surely did not deserve a spot in the Test arena. Although, I totally back him as a ODI and T20 player. Having Sammy in the team was more of a liability, cause he couldnt get you wickets when needed. He was more of a containing bowler..And if you want Sammy in your team as a batsman, then I guess the problem lies in your batting top order.

    But all said and done, a well balanced outfit.. a good mix of youth with experience..And its finally time for the seniors to put their hands up and start dominating the field. IPL is gone, its time for some special action and absorbing entertainment from the Carribean boys!!

    I hope the Windies live upto the expectations this time and win it for fans like us across the globe..

  • JoshFromJamRock on June 7, 2014, 20:06 GMT

    Quite a while since I've had such sense of anticipation for a WI Test match. The bowling is as best as it can be personnel-wise as Roach, Taylor, Benn and Shillingford have good stats and have all registered some career defining performances. International match readiness will be the major question asked of them.

    The batting order needs to be thought out carefully as Gayle, Bravo and Samuels have obvious flaws in their batting technique while Powell and Edwards have issues relating more to temperament than anything else.

    Chanderpaul is the only one in great form but he has got to sort out his issues with tailenders because if guarded right he and the team will benefit more by at least 30-40 runs. Taylor, Roach and Benn are very capable batters but they can be outsmarted if exposed to one bowler (especially a spinner) for too long i.e. 3-4 balls.

    My 1st Test WI lineup: 1)Gayle 2)Powell 3)Edwards 4)Bravo 5)Chanderpaul 6)Samuels 7)Ramdin 8)Taylor 9)Benn 10)Roach 11)Shillingford.

  • on June 7, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    Any team with Sammy is 10 playing against 11--Sammy was an Albatross round the WI neck endorsed and abetted by the incompetents at the WICB who dared to compare him to FWorrell? We will not start winning until they put the best 11 on the pitch and cut out the insularity and pettiness that has kept WI cricket in the doldrums for years--People want to see the best 11 not an 11 that purports to represent the entire region--

  • on June 7, 2014, 19:04 GMT

    New Zealand has been enjoying success at home and this series will be a real test for them. Their batsmen are not too comfortable against spin and Caribbean pitches have been spin-friendly in recent years. They will need Taylor and Williamson to bat exceedingly well if they want to win the series. The bowling looks good with Southee and Boult, and Sodhi's good form. WI will look for their revenge and also a repeat of the 2012 series where they dominated NZ. Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo are the key with the bat, if you ask me. I am also looking forward to seeing Jerome Taylor bowl again. Roach's comeback is also a big advantage for the hosts. The best thing about this match is that we're going to have Test Cricket again after a long time!

  • adkum on June 7, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    Nice to see a "new look" seaming Sammy-less WI team with Gayle. When Gibson is removed then it will have a sparkling new look. Pity that Narine missed the deadline and did not qualify for tests. The folly is that WICB gave extension to accommodate the IPL players but failed to include one more day for the IPL final. What is the point in giving extension but ignoring the final. One day more would not have hurt. A player of Narine's calibre had to make a choice between his IPL final or meeting WI deadline with no guarantee of being selected. His fitness was not in question. Sammy did the face saving thing to resign test cricket as it would be difficult to be picked when competing with the other strike bowlers. He was made captain because of his St Lucian buddies in the WICB. No test team would pick a player with Sammy's batting av of 22 and bowling av of 36 in test cricket. Yet WICB did and WI cricket suffered. He is good T20 and 1 dayer, not test cricket. Good luck Ramdin and WI team.

  • TeamSelector on June 7, 2014, 17:54 GMT

    1 Kieran Powell, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Kirk Edwards, 7 Denesh Ramdin (capt & wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Jason Holder, 11 Kemar Roach I would leave out Braithwaite, Gabriel & Shillingford.

  • on June 7, 2014, 17:25 GMT

    wow, it's amazing what the WI squad looks like since Sammy retired. the team now has 6 quality batsmen, a very good keeper and a potent bowling attack. that, plus a mixture of youth and experience (gayle, Samuels, shiv, ramdin with powell, bravo and edwards/brathwite) and two tall spinners in benn and Shillings. let's hope our batting steps up

  • Riddymon on June 7, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    @Barry: We all know sammy's not a strike bowler so don't really know what you're getting at there...he's at best a first or second change. Narine wasn't playing in the test team then...and even though shillingford was getting wickets..it doesn't mean much when your two quicks are getting belted around the field for the whole innings. Hopefully this team will have the bowling attack that makes a difference...Taylor was looking good in the domestic tournament so i'm expecting big things.

  • on June 7, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    missed Taylor man that guy is just too good and always gives his 100%. Welcome back Jerome Taylor. Happy you fought you'r way back into the team.

  • on June 7, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    happy after seeing taylor back

  • on June 7, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    time for some red ball cricket!

  • on June 7, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    Going to be an interesting series. New Zealand are definitely a team on the up while the reformation of the West Indies line-up may just give their bowling attack a renewed edge. Should be a good contest.

  • TeamSelector on June 7, 2014, 15:45 GMT

    I don't think Gayle is fully 'fit', but he will definitely play. Because of this, it will be interesting to see if Kirk or Brathwaite gets the #6 slot. Kirk would be the preferred choice, but Brathwaite could be needed if Gayle is unable to open in the second innings. As far as the bowling goes, this might be sound controversial to most - but, I would actually leave out Shillingford & play Benn with Roach/Taylor/Holder. It would be suicidal to play Shilly & Samuels, with both of their actions under scrutiny. Your lead spinner needs to play the whole test, without fear of being "reprimanded" by the umpires ...

  • on June 7, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    Didn't Sammy also have shillingford and narine? Isn't he also a strike bowler? Or was it that he was a specialist captain!

  • Riddymon on June 7, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    Sammy basically got the smelly end of the stick as far as bowlers were concerned when playing against India and New Zealand in Tests last year. When you have Tino Best, Shannon Gabriel and Cottrell as your strike bowlers...as a captain, you're basically being setup for failure. Right now, Ramdin has been given a world class bowling attack needs to make the most out of it. Interesting move having Braithwaite/Edwards so low down the order....this should give them good batting depth and middle order strength...Jerome Taylor can swing a bat as well when he's ready and has a pretty nifty century to his name despite his pretty low average. Should be an interesting match..still don't believe that New Zealand is that good a team outside of New Zealand....hoping for some dominance by the West Indies.

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  • Riddymon on June 7, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    Sammy basically got the smelly end of the stick as far as bowlers were concerned when playing against India and New Zealand in Tests last year. When you have Tino Best, Shannon Gabriel and Cottrell as your strike bowlers...as a captain, you're basically being setup for failure. Right now, Ramdin has been given a world class bowling attack needs to make the most out of it. Interesting move having Braithwaite/Edwards so low down the order....this should give them good batting depth and middle order strength...Jerome Taylor can swing a bat as well when he's ready and has a pretty nifty century to his name despite his pretty low average. Should be an interesting match..still don't believe that New Zealand is that good a team outside of New Zealand....hoping for some dominance by the West Indies.

  • on June 7, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    Didn't Sammy also have shillingford and narine? Isn't he also a strike bowler? Or was it that he was a specialist captain!

  • TeamSelector on June 7, 2014, 15:45 GMT

    I don't think Gayle is fully 'fit', but he will definitely play. Because of this, it will be interesting to see if Kirk or Brathwaite gets the #6 slot. Kirk would be the preferred choice, but Brathwaite could be needed if Gayle is unable to open in the second innings. As far as the bowling goes, this might be sound controversial to most - but, I would actually leave out Shillingford & play Benn with Roach/Taylor/Holder. It would be suicidal to play Shilly & Samuels, with both of their actions under scrutiny. Your lead spinner needs to play the whole test, without fear of being "reprimanded" by the umpires ...

  • on June 7, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    Going to be an interesting series. New Zealand are definitely a team on the up while the reformation of the West Indies line-up may just give their bowling attack a renewed edge. Should be a good contest.

  • on June 7, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    time for some red ball cricket!

  • on June 7, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    happy after seeing taylor back

  • on June 7, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    missed Taylor man that guy is just too good and always gives his 100%. Welcome back Jerome Taylor. Happy you fought you'r way back into the team.

  • Riddymon on June 7, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    @Barry: We all know sammy's not a strike bowler so don't really know what you're getting at there...he's at best a first or second change. Narine wasn't playing in the test team then...and even though shillingford was getting wickets..it doesn't mean much when your two quicks are getting belted around the field for the whole innings. Hopefully this team will have the bowling attack that makes a difference...Taylor was looking good in the domestic tournament so i'm expecting big things.

  • on June 7, 2014, 17:25 GMT

    wow, it's amazing what the WI squad looks like since Sammy retired. the team now has 6 quality batsmen, a very good keeper and a potent bowling attack. that, plus a mixture of youth and experience (gayle, Samuels, shiv, ramdin with powell, bravo and edwards/brathwite) and two tall spinners in benn and Shillings. let's hope our batting steps up

  • TeamSelector on June 7, 2014, 17:54 GMT

    1 Kieran Powell, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Kirk Edwards, 7 Denesh Ramdin (capt & wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Jason Holder, 11 Kemar Roach I would leave out Braithwaite, Gabriel & Shillingford.