West Indies relying on Tino Best to spearhead attack against New Zealand
The West Indies have entrusted the ageing Tino Best with spearheading their attack against New Zealand in the first Test starting in Dunedin on Tuesday as they look to boost confidence and modest rankings.
The pride of the Calypso cricketers took a battering with the way they were trounced in two Tests by India ahead of the New Zealand tour and captain Darren Sammy said they need to put that behind them quickly.
"People might say India did not go well for us, but this is a new challenge, a new chance to focus and finish the year on a high," he said.
"There are a number of guys that want to bounce back, myself included. I did not have a good time in India and I want to come out and reassert myself as a Test captain and player, and many of the players want to do the same following the humiliation in India."
Although the energetic Best has been on the international scene since 2003, he has managed only a modest 49 wickets at 39.22 from 22 Tests.
However, coach Ottis Gibson believes the 32-year-old is the right person to lead the inexperienced attack in New Zealand. "It's a good opportunity for Tino to show his leadership," Gibson said.
"He's a quality bowler and will have to step up on this trip, so the young bowlers can feed off him. "One thing we know about Tino is that he will be full of energy, and that plus some consistency and good decisions can make him a good leader of the attack for us."
Gibson said the three-Test New Zealand series offered the relatively inexperienced West Indies squad a "learning opportunity".
The sixth-ranked West Indies want to improve their standing on the Test ladder and a 3-0 series win would put them within two points of the fifth-placed Australians. New Zealand are ranked eighth.
Historically, New Zealand has not been a happy hunting ground for the West Indies who have won just one series there in the past 50 years, when Courtney Walsh's side led them to a 1-0 victory in a two-Test rubber 18 years ago.
In three subsequent trips, the Windies were beaten 2-0 in 1999 and 2006, and drew 0-0 on their last visit five years ago.