My last day in Glasgow dawned damp and iron grey, but my fellow Trading Tales writer Diana McCaulay and I were undaunted by the promise of rain. We set off for the riverside...
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Black Caps bracing for spin onslaught in Windies Tests
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, CMC—New Zealand departed for the Caribbean, bracing for a barrage of spin in their upcoming three-Test series. Though having produced the finest fast bowlers in the history of the game, tracks in the West Indies have become slow and low, allowing spinners to dominate in recent times. Pointing to the spin trio of Sunil Narine, Shane Shillingford and Sulieman Benn, Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said it was important his side prepared for the threat of a concentrated spin attack.
“All I can go by is recent history and it's turned and bounced (in the Caribbean). The wicket blocks are bare in photos we’ve seen, so that's pretty much what we expect to get,” Hesson said.
“They've got three very good spinners and there's a possibility they could play all three so we have to prepare for that. In their conditions they’re a completely different proposition than they were at home.” New Zealand dominated West Indies when they hosted the Caribbean team last year, winning the three-Test series 2-0. Rain saved the Windies from certain defeat in the other game. However, the Kiwis will be aware of their poor record on the road. In their last 12 Tests away from home over the past two years, they have won one just one and lost nine. They drew two – against minnows Bangladesh.
The tourists will face a home side also going through their changes. Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin has replaced Darren Sammy as captain while Chris Gayle is returning after an injury layoff along with fast bowler Kemar Roach. Hesson, however, is under no illusions about the nature of the task ahead. “We lost 2-0 last time over there (in 2012) and sides don't win away from home too often, so we know it's going to be incredibly tough. If we're able to scrap out a Test series win that'd be a huge achievement,” he pointed out. “We're preparing as well as we can and those first 10 days are pretty crucial for us to adapt to conditions.” New Zealand will play two warm-up matches in Jamaica prior to the first Test which bowls off at Sabina Park in Kingston on June 8. (CMC)