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NZ tour of WI: A battle of equals

With the conclusion of the Indian Premiere League, there might be a collective gloom among cricket lovers across the globe.

 
PRLog - Jun. 19, 2014 - OKHLA, India -- This year, the international cricketing summer begins with New Zealand’s tour to the West Indies. The tour, which constitutes of three Tests and two T20 international matches, promises to be an engrossing affair and fans of the both nations would hopefully be satiated by the end of it. What is interesting is that both the sides have recently faced off against one another and know their strengths and weaknesses quite well. West Indies had toured New Zealand in late December-early January for a full-fledged series comprising of three Tests, five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and two T20s. Though New Zealand won the hard fought Test series 1-0, West Indies came back to equal the ODI series 2-2 (with one match being abandoned due to rain). New Zealand won the T20 series comfortably; affecting a whitewash by winning 2-0. Nevertheless, what stood out from that series was that both the sides; irrespective of the conditions, are on equal measure when compared to each other. According to the ICC’s international Test rankings, New Zealand stands at the sixth position while the West Indies is struggling at the eighth number. It clearly indicates that there isn’t much to choose between the two sides and each would have to play out of their skins to oust the other. Now let us have a brief look at the players to watch out for both the teams in this series.

Players to watch out for New Zealand

Brendon McCullum: Fresh from an outstanding triple century (302) in his last Test match against India at Wellington, Brendon McCullum is truly in the form of his life. His 525 runs in the two match Test series against the Indians was a world record and it seems that the responsibility of leading the side is perhaps pushing the dashing right-hand batsman to play more maturely. Additionally, McCullum has also relieved himself from the wicket-keeping duties and can now solely concentrate on his batting. As was evident from his epic knock against India, McCullum is relishing the role of being the senior batsman and his current purple patch may cause West Indies dear.

Ross Taylor: Though, this senior New Zealand batsman hasn’t exactly been setting the stage on fire of late, it would be foolish to count Ross Taylor out. The attractive right-hand batsman has the ability to tear apart any opposition in the world and it is only a matter of time before he lets his bat do all the talking. In his last series against the West Indies, Taylor had scored heavily; with a double century and two centuries in three Tests and the West Indians would certainly be wary of him. He has played many memorable knocks in the past for his country and the slow and low pitches of West Indies are likely to suit his style of play. Ross Taylor forms a vital cog of New Zealand’s middle-order and the team would expect him to play some responsible knocks for them.

Kane Williamson: He is the rising star of New Zealand cricket and could well go on to be one of the great New Zealand batsmen ever if he stays true to his skills. The 23 year old did have a sedate series against India, but his sparkling 113 at Auckland in the first Test match of that series was a clear display of his class. Coming at number three, Williamson’s role in the batting order assumes prime significance and it remains to be seen how he fares in the slow and low tracks of West Indies. He has played the West Indies bowlers in their last tour to New Zealand and did fairly well. If the young batsman has got to show his class to the world, there would not be a better stage than in front of the cricket loving public of the Caribbean.

Tim Southee: The right-arm medium fast bowler is in good form currently and should enjoy bowling in the tracks of West Indies which always has something for the quicks.

Though the tracks of the Caribbean would not be the same seaming and bouncing ones found in New Zealand, it should still aid the 25 year old’s bowling style. His biggest challenge of course would be facing up front to Chris Gayle and if somehow Southee manages to come up trumps in the battle, his team would be at an advantageous position. Another fact that might help Southee is that the West Indies squad has a number of lefthanders and his outswingers might trouble them.

Trent Boult: He is another bowling star in the making for New Zealand and if handled properly could go on to make many records for his country. Having taken 82 wickets in just 22 matches, Boult has shown that he is a force to reckon with. The left-arm fast bowler has the ability to bowl at pace and can move the ball both ways. He is in good rhythm currently and should trouble the West Indians, known to be susceptible to swing and bounce. How well he performs with the old ball may well be the deciding factor for New Zealand’s outcome in the Test series.

Players to watch out for West Indies

Chris Gayle: The tall Jamaican would undoubtedly be the man to watch out for in the entire tour. Having torn apart bowlers all over the world, Chris Gayle would be at ease on the familiar pitches at home. Though Gayle’s Test form has been a little moderate off late, but you can expect him to be up to the challenge when the series commences. What would perhaps work as an added motivation for Gayle, would be the fact that he would be playing his 100th Test match at Jamaica; his home ground, which incidentally is the also the First Test match of the series.For More Visit Our Site@ http://www.crictoday.com/

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