Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin is looking to a new generation of players to stand up and lead his side against Australia as they commence life after Shivnarine Chanderpaul in Dominica.
Apart from Ramdin himself, Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo are among the men much will be expected of in a series where a highly ranked but underdone Australia may be vulnerable to pressure applied by the hosts, provided they can post significant first-innings totals.
For nearly two decades Chanderpaul was expected to be the bulwark of such tallies, but now Ramdin said others needed to step up, showing the sort of steel associated with the 40-year-old Guyanese before his form tailed off drastically in the recent series against South Africa and England.
"It's very important that the main players stand up, put our hands up and do the bulk of the batting for the team," Ramdin said. "We know what Marlon is capable of, young Darren Bravo who has been here for six, seven years now, a lot rests on his shoulders. He knows that and I think he's going to do well in this series.
"We've got some youngsters who've done well in the regional tournament. They have the talent, it's just about getting some experience at this level now. They're going to get the opportunity. The opposition is going to come hard at us so I think they're going to put up their hand and be counted for. The series against England was good, a brilliant experience for some of the guys and that'll help us going forward."
One reason West Indies may be capable of leaving Chanderpaul behind is the fact they have now assembled a highly experienced support staff, including team manager Richie Richardson, coach Phil Simmons, batting assistant Stuart Williams and bowling assistant Curtly Ambrose. All took part in one way or another on Australia's tour to the Caribbean in 1995, when Mark taylor's men ended 15 years of West Indian domination.
Another factor in favour of the hosts this week is the two sides' respective lead-ins. Australia's Test team have not assembled for a match since January against India in Sydney, as the World Cup victory and holidays swallowed up the intervening period. By contrast West Indies recently fought out a 1-1 home Test series against England, and will be much more familiar with the prevailing slow and turning conditions.
"It's good always going into a series with some cricket behind you," Ramdin said. "We got that result that we wanted in Barbados to level the series but we know they're a good team.
"We're in a good frame of mind coming off the last Test match where we had a win against England. A good week in Barbados, preparation, the last three days were fantastic. We did some good things and hopefully we can carry that into the game."
Ramdin had little to say about the composition of the team, but it is apparent that one of the two young men seconded from the WICB President's XI - Rajindra Chandrika and Shane Dowrich - will debut. There is also the likelihood of twin spin from Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo, though it remains to be seen whether the hosts play five bowlers or four. The former scenario would require Ramdin to bat at No. 6.
"We have some good spinners, they have some good batters," Ramdin said. "It's going to be a keenly good contest. We need to get the right areas and put them under some pressure. Our new ball bowlers need to get early wickets so the lower order will be under some pressure and our spinners can play a part probably day three or day four."