NORTH SOUND, Antigua (Sporting Alert) -– Following their success in the One Day International series, the West Indies arrived here at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, full of confidence and ready to take on New Zealand in the first Test Match today.
The Windies have been boosted by the return of opener Chris Gayle, who will certainly stable things at the top of the order – a place in which the Caribbean side has struggled in recent times.
Gayle was named in the West Indies 13-man squad for the opening game of the Test series and is set to play his first Test match since December 2010.
The hard-hitting left hander has been in good form since his return to the side and captain Darren Sammy is delighted to see the Jamaican back in the side for the Digicel Test Series.
“It’s very exciting. I know he’s looking forward to being back in white clothes as well,” Sammy said ahead of the first Test.
“Not just Chris but the entire team is looking forward to the Test series and hopefully we can continue the form we showed in the T20 and one-day series.
“Our opening position has been a spot of bother for us, but with the experience [of Gayle] back there hopefully we can see off the new ball and put a good total on the board. The new ball we have struggled for the last year or so.
“His experience, he can pass it on to the younger players. But at the end of the day you’ve still got to go out there and put the performance out there in the middle, because we’ve got a good side on paper but you still have to go out there and do the business.”
The likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels are just a few players the West Indies will look to help win the series.
It is now left to be seen what the staff will do with Ravi Rampaul and Tino Best, who are unlikely to both play the game.
Captain Ross Taylor and veteran spinner and former skipper Daniel Vettori will be very important for New Zealand, while Trent Boult is set to be replaced in the starting team by Neil Wagner.
West Indies squad
DJG Sammy*, D Ramdin†, AB Barath, TL Best, S Chanderpaul, N Deonarine, AB Fudadin, CH Gayle, SP Narine, KOA Powell, R Rampaul, KAJ Roach, MN Samuels
New Zealand squad
LRPL Taylor*, TA Boult, DAJ Bracewell, DG Brownlie, DR Flynn, MJ Guptill, BB McCullum, CS Martin, TS Nethula, TG Southee, CFK van Wyk†, DL Vettori, N Wagner, BJ Watling, KS Williamson