Familiar names boost West Indies
The switch to T20 cricket brings a familiar look to West Indies. Their two-match series against New Zealand will mark Kieron Pollard's return from a year-long injury break. Sunil Narine, who was sidelined from the Tests owing to IPL commitments, will take up national duty again. So will Samuel Badree, the no.1-ranked T20 bowler.
All three players had been involved in the IPL, along with some of the New Zealand squad. Pollard had shared a dressing room with the big-hitting Corey Anderson at Mumbai Indians. Badree was a team-mate of the New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum at Chennai Super Kings and he believed the insights he had gained would come in handy.
"Obviously Brendon McCullum is one of their key performers in this version," Badree said. "I've been with him in the IPL at Chennai and I know him quite well. Kane Williamson seems to be in good form, I don't know who the other opener will be. I don't think they've brought specialist openers for these two games. So I'll work with the analyst before the game and come up with my game plan.
"Always mentally ready for any challenge. Physically, some might say I'm a bit short on practice, given the weather conditions and the fact there's no cricket on in Trinidad & Tobago, but that's no excuse. I've been working in the nets and so on so like I said looking forward to two games against New Zealand."
West Indies had trialled an inexperienced team under a new captain during the three-Test series. Though there were some heartening individual performances, they lost the series 2-1. Most of the T20 squad is consistent with the one that turned out for the World Cup in March. Krishmar Santokie, the left-arm seamer, might make his first appearance on this tour. His assortment of slower balls and yorkers helped him play all of West Indies' games at the World Cup and a couple of matches for Mumbai in the IPL as well.
"Always be watchful of the batters. That's my main thing," Santokie said. "On occasions, it depends on the situation of the game, you might have to change things. I've been working on some more variations in the nets but nothing in particular.
"Regardless of what kind of pitch you play on. Everywhere in the world, variation is the key and that's what I bring to the team."