The West Indies won’t read too much into New Zealand’s two-Test humiliation in Australia, according to coach John Dyson.
Which is not to say there hasn’t been some useful information gleaned ahead of their two-Test series starting in Dunedin next week.
As a former Australian Test opener, Dyson knows the difficulties of tackling the Aussies in their own back yard.
‘Teams come back from a series against Australia when they’re playing well and feel ‘thank goodness that’s over’,’ he said after the squad’s arrival in Auckland.
‘From our point of view it’s been great to watch them play against Australia. We’ll get some useful tips from that. But New Zealand on home soil is always difficult, so I expect they’ll come home saying ‘let’s get on with this series’.’
Dyson talked of the folly of writing off Australia on the basis of having lost a handful of experienced players in the last two years.
‘But they keep producing,’ he said. ‘It’s another example of how Australia has an excellent system underpinning the main team.’
The West Indies start their tour with a three-dayer against Auckland at Eden Park on Friday, and Dyson expects it to be a ‘proper’ XI vs XI game, not one where teams use 12 or 13 players to have a practice workout.
One three-day warm up game ahead of the Tests is not ideal, but Dyson is a pragmatist.
‘We haven’t played a Test since June against Australia but these days you’ve got to get used to playing just one tour match then a Test,’ he said.
‘We had a good practice in Christchurch, that was good from the point of getting over jet lag, we’ll get them out in the middle for a three-day game, then another week’s practice for the Test.’
He is concerned at the shortage of international cricket experience of several of his players but has hopes that the younger players.
Four of them are on their first West Indies trip – Leon Johnson, Kemar Roach, Brendan Nash and Sulieman Benn.
Benn is a 6ft 8in left arm spinner and they promise to justify the selectors’ faith in them.
Several of the West Indies squad pocketed US$1 million from winning the Stanford Superstars showdown against England in Antigua last month.
Dyson quipped that he hoped those players ‘are generous at Christmas time. I’ve given them a gift wish list’.
Captain Chris Gayle visited a doctor complaining of feeling unwell, but is expected to be ready to play Auckland.
Tickets for the matches against the West Indies and India went on sale with the three Twenty20 games, on December 26 (Eden Park) and December 28 (Seddon Park in Hamilton) against the West Indies, and March 6 (Wellington) against India expected to be hot items.
* West Indies squad
Chris Gayle (c), Carlton Baugh, Daren Powell, Jerome Taylor, Xavier Marshall, Brendan Nash (Jamaica), Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Leon Johnson (Guyana), Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach, Sulieman Benn (Barbados), Denesh Ramdin (Trinidad & Tobago), Lionel Baker (Leeward Islands