The first Test of the summer is upon us and below is all you need to know ... well mostly ... in our opinion!
Face value: Summer is here! International cricket is back! Get EXCITED!
Who: The BLACKCAPS v West Indies. What: 1st Test of a two-match series When: December 1st - 5th
Where: Where else but the spiritual home of cricket in New Zealand - the Basin Reserve, Wellington. As usual, it will be
BLACKCAPS team news: Wellington Firebirds wicket-keeper Tom Blundell is set to make a dream debut on his home ground in the absence of incumbent keeper BJ Watling (hip). Lockie Ferguson’s strong Plunket Shield form’s been rewarded with a call-up and it seems between himself and Matt Henry to see who will fill the shoes of Tim Southee who is unavailable due to the birth of his child. Central Stags left-hander George Worker’s also been brought into the squad.
West Indies: Don’t let their ICC Test ranking of 8 fool you - it’s a dangerous touring side who turn up on these shores. The Calypso-Kings gave England a fright earlier this year and have been on a steady diet of Test cricket thanks to a victorious three-match Test series in Zimbabwe. They also impressed in their warm-up match against New Zealand A in Lincoln over the weekend - scorecard.
Watch out for: Captain Jason Holder has some bright young talent around him. Top order batsmen Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite are both under 25-years-of-age and both ranked inside the top 25 Test batsmen in world cricket, while Roston Chase is only a year older and averages more than 40. Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel will lead the pace bowling attack and look out for leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo who’s risen to 21st in the Test bowling rankings - the 5th best spinner in the world.
Pitch: Once again the Basin Reserve wicket was presented early in the week as a Green-Mamba and only just distinguishable from the outfield! But history tells us that looks can be deceiving in the capital and the word is that this will be a very good cricket wicket. Think pace and bounce - please and thank-you!
History: The 2013 Test tour was a memorable one. Rain halted a certain push for victory in the opening Test in
A word from the coach: “The West Indies are a developing side, but they’re probably more advanced than that. The last six months they’ve played some very good cricket in England and Zimbabwe … they’re a youngish side, but