The odds would seem to favour the West Indies winning. They have been able to choose a stronger squad and even though their last win at home was four years ago, that's far better than New Zealand's away record. The Kiwis haven't won a series away from the Shaky Isles in the last ten years except Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
|Is there a more passionate cricketer?|
|"What did you say I was supposed|
to do with this?"
Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum return to strengthen the batting but as senior players, its time they contribute more consistently. The encouragement for New Zealand is the knowledge that apart from Wagner, this is the side which played in the last Test against South Africa at the Basin Reserve.
The West Indies have removed Kirk and Fidel Edwards from their squad. Fidel had injuries in England and Kirk endured the tour from hell. The man who had batted with such purpose, strength and success against India, Bangladesh and Australia in the previous twelve months, lasted only 87 balls in his eight innings on tour for just 20 runs.
|Chris Gayle doing what he does best|
The rest of the batting line up looks strong, despite the absence of Darren Bravo with a groin strain. Keiron Powell is better suited to three than opening and with Narsingh Deonarine batting at six and England series hero Marlon Samuels at five, Shiv Chanderpaul has finally been prised by crowbar up to four. With Dinesh Ramdin at seven, the West Indies finally have a strong batting line up - on paper. Narine is yet to prove himself at Test level but gets the chance on home soil. With Darren Dammy captaining the side and Kemar Roach fully fit again, the only choice for the selectors is between the returned man, Tino Best and the tried and true Ravi Rampaul. Best had an emphatic return against England but it was his unexpected near hundred which made more impact than his bowling. Rampaul is more likely to bother the New Zealanders whose weakness is bowlers who attack their off stump consistently.
It seems we need to repeat the comment that this series is one Test too short. Before the First Test, two T20's and five ODI's were played. Surely an additional Test is a better option. Two Test series prove nothing, gain nothing and if anything, lessen the impact of Test cricket, especially in places like the West Indies where cricket is failing.