Cricket: Black Caps ready for Windies return

By Cameron McMillan

The Black Caps may be touring the West Indies for the first time in a decade but they know what to expect when they came up against the hosts in tomorrow morning's opening ODI in Kingston.

Windies opener Chris Gayle will make his return to his home ground Sabina Park since 2009 and New Zealand don't need reminding that he is the danger man in their five match series after he put them to the sword in the two Twenty20 games in the United States.

"Florida wasn't an ideal start and Chris Gayle was a star in those two games so he's obviously a player we need to look at," Black Caps interim captain Kane Williamson told media today.

"They have a few of those players but in saying that we've got a lot of good cricketers to that have yet to fire so that's very important for us going into these one-day internationals.

New Zealand's last victory over the West Indies in 50 overs was in 2009 and going further back their last win in the Caribbean, outside of the 2007 World Cup, was a decade ago when they last toured in 2002.

But more recent history is on their side having won 10 of the 16 matches between the two teams since then.

"We know we're up against a very strong side and we know we are a young side looking to move forward but we're certainly looking to improve and hopefully get a win tomorrow, that's obviously the number one thing we're focussing on. That's what our planning's been towards and hopefully that all falls in place for us," said Williamson.

"History sort of suggests, looking at the leading wicket takers on the Jamaican wicket that they have been seam bowlers. There are some good spinners in their side and like ours, we need to look at playing spin well. That was obviously a weakness for us in the last two games in the Twenty20s, that's one way for us to move forward."

Williamson will become New Zealand's youngest ODI captain at just 21 years of age when he leads the team tomorrow in place of injured skipper Ross Taylor.

"Obviously not a lot has changed, it's just an interim thing, but the guys have been fantastic. They are all backing me and obviously I'm backing them. Whilst I'm the captain there are a lot of leaders in the team, a lot of senior players who have a voice as well, so we're all working together.

"Although Ross is injured he's had a lot of input to the side and we're looking to tap into those resources in this side to help move everyone forward because we're quite a young team."

The Black Caps last won an ODI on February 9 against Zimbabwe after being swept in the following three-match series against South Africa.

Squads
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Tino Best, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, , Ravi Rampaul, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Andrew Ellis, Daniel Flynn, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Tarun Nethula, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram,Tim Southee, BJ Watling.

- HERALD ONLINE

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