KINGSTON – Embattled West Indies opener John Campbell says he has put the torrid tour of England behind him but is braced for a similarly difficult challenge on the upcoming tour of New Zealand.
The left-hander struggled badly during the three-Test England series last July, managing a mediocre 84 runs from six innings, to come away with an average of 16.
And with several pundits questioning his inclusion in the 15-man squad, Campbell said he was determined to make amends for his poor recent form.
“I have to show character. I didn’t have the best of times in England, but that’s history,” the Jamaican told the Observer newspaper.
“I can’t really dwell on what happened … it was way below my standards and international standards, but it happens. Now it is about how I’m going to come back from it.”
Campbell made his debut last year when England toured the Caribbean, impressing with several good starts in tandem with experienced opening partner Kraigg Brathwaite, but failing to carry on.
He averaged 35 in that series but then struggled with 48 runs in the two-Test series against India in the Caribbean, before gathering his maiden fifty against minnows Afghanistan in the one-off Test in India last November.
Campbell, who averages 25 overall from nine Tests, said it was critical he made the most of the opportunities against the Black Caps.
“In international cricket there is no easy opponent. When you get to that level, players have a lot of experience and a lot of skill, so I’m expecting another big challenge,” he said
“I know it won’t be easy, but New Zealand is a place where if you spend time at the crease you will score runs. I’m definitely looking to spend time and to score big runs.”
He continued: “I’ve been given another opportunity and I’m definitely looking to make full use of it. I’m just looking to finish off this calendar year well.
“It doesn’t make any sense me being too hard on myself because that will only put more pressure on me, which won’t help.”
During the recent England series, Campbell struggled against the moving ball, especially against veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Since his return to the Caribbean, he has been working on his technique with franchise coaches Andre Coley and Nikita Miller and hopes his efforts pay dividends.
“I’m pretty confident going into the tour, even though the most recent tour for me wasn’t the best,” he noted.
“I’ve put in some work over the past few weeks on areas that needed to be [fixed]. I’ve been working pretty hard with the coaches, and I’m trusting the process.
“It’s basically about watching the ball for as long as possible, and getting in good positions to access the ball. I think I was off balance while I was [batting] in England, so I’ve been working hard getting my balance right and my weight right going into the shots.”
Campbell leaves the island Sunday for Barbados from where the West Indies touring party will fly to New Zealand later next week.