CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – Assistant coach Roddy Estwick said batting stability will be very important to success for the West Indies Test team on the Tour of New Zealand.
The Windies Test team is currently preparing for a two-Test series against the Black Caps next month.
The Caribbean side has not won a Test series, let alone a Test, in New Zealand since Courtney Walsh’s side crushed Ken Rutherford’s men by an innings and 322 runs 25 years ago at the Basin Reserve, to clinch a two-Test series 1-0.
Estwick, whose substantive role in the Windies support staff is bowling coach, said the Caribbean side is well served in the bowling department and the challenge will be how well the side bats.
“Over the last two or three years, the bowlers have held their own, but the batsmen have not come up to where we want them to be,” he told the media during a video conference call on Monday.
“They are working hard. They are trying to get it right. And it will be good to have someone of Darren Bravo’s experience back and we have to get big scores from the batsmen.
“Once we can get big totals, we can be competitive because we have three bowlers in the top 20 in the World.”
Test captain Jason Holder is currently ranked fifth in the ICC Test Championship Bowling Rankings, compatriot Kemar Roach is ranked 15th and tearaway Shannon Gabriel is ranked 20th.
Estwick said the batsmen are working hard to iron out technical flaws cruelly exposed during their previous Test series last June on the Tour of England.
“I think most of the batsmen knew the technical flaws they had in England and they are currently working on correcting them,” he said. “But it’s two totally different conditions.
“New Zealand is much colder. The ball does not move around as much as it does in England, so it is all about adjusting to conditions and adapting, and in New Zealand, you have got be prepared to be patient and work hard.”
He added: “There is never any easy runs in New Zealand. You need to look at their attack to understand why. Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner, you know they form the core of a top-class bowling attack.
“It’s all about when the batsmen get in, they have to stay in. I found in England, players got starts, got into the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, but it is about carrying on.”
Estwick said Kraigg Brathwaite and left-hander John Campbell, who are expected to be the opening pair for the two Tests, will be under pressure to play a critical role in the success of the batting.
“A key thing is the openers have to give us good starts because the ball will swing for a few overs,” he said.
“You have got to make sure you ride that swing out and you lay a platform for the batsman coming down the order, so it’s going to be very important that Kraigg and John give us good starts.”
The first Test between the Windies and the Black Caps starts on December 3 at Seddon Park in Hamilton and the second Test from December 11 to 15 will be contested at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. (CMC)