Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: Black Caps to tweak game plan for Narine

Getting on top of spinner Sunil Narine will be pivotal to New Zealand's chances in their two-test series against the West Indies and Kane Williamson is confident the Black Caps can combat the right-armer in the longer form of the game.

Narine, who has produced staggering statistics in his first eight months of international cricket, was a constant menace for New Zealand during the Twenty20 and one-day series.

The 24-year-old took seven wickets in the Twenty20 games as the West Indies swept New Zealand 2-0 and claimed 13 scalps in five one-dayers as the home side rolled the Black Caps 4-1. He took a career-best figures of 5-27 in the fifth game yesterday.

West Indies won the toss and elected to bat at Warner Park and posted a respectable 241-9 from their 50 overs, with No 9 Andre Russell top-scoring with a hard-hit 59 not out.

New Zealand looked on track to chase down the target but when Williamson was brilliantly caught by Chris Gayle in the 46th over their chase ran out of steam and they eventually lost by 20 runs.

Williamson said the lengthy nature of test cricket meant the New Zealanders wouldn't be forced to push the tempo against Narine, which had brought their downfall in the limited overs matches.

"It's a very different challenge, I think, playing him in a test," Williamson said. "In saying that, it will be interesting to see how they produce the wickets but hopefully the tests bring him down to a more level playing field because, no doubt, he's bowled oustandingly since he came on the scene and he's been a handful in the shorter format.

"He's less experienced in that test arena so we'll look forward to that challenge.

"I think attacking him is very difficult as it showed in the one-dayers. When we looked to attack, he certainly picked up wickets so I think the slightly more defensive or slower version of test cricket will make him less effective because he's not a huge spinner of the ball both ways - but he does get it to go both ways."

Narine made his test debut against England in Birmingham last month when he went wicket-less from his 15 overs in a rain-affected encounter.

The Trinidad-born tweaker played alongside Brendon McCullum for the Kolkata Knight Riders in this year's IPL and Williamson said they were working hard on trying to read the finger spinner's deliveries.

"We've done a bit of homework and Brendon played with him all through the IPL and he's been helping us out. It's a matter of picking him but not only picking him in the short format but it's playing him.

"I think when we get into the tests, while he is still a threat, we need to look to play him slightly more defensively and pick him off rather than use attacking strokes like in the one-dayers where it was much more difficult."

The New Zealand side to play the West Indies in the test matches will likely take on a different look with Kruger van Wyk, Chris Martin, Daniel Vettori and Neil Wagner joining the squad as Jacob Oram, Tom Latham, Rob Nicol and Andrew Ellis drop out.

Wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling remains under an injury cloud with a quad strain but is expected to be available for the first test.

New Zealand meet the West Indies Cricket Board president's XI in a three-day tour match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua starting on Saturday morning (NZT) before the first test begins at the same venue next Thursday. (NZT)

- APNZ

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