Chance To End The Year On A High - Sammy
West Indies Test captain Darren Sammy says that the tour of New Zealand offers his side a good chance to end 2013 on a high note following a disappointing tour of India.
The opening Test is set to get underway in a matter of hours at the University Oval in Dunedin and Sammy, along with his team-mates, has had to adapt quickly to conditions in New Zealand.
That, however, is just part of the lot of an international sportsman, Sammy says, and he expects his team to start well.
"It’s the life of a professional sportsman," he said. "One minute, you are in the hot and crazy fan atmosphere of India, and the next day, you are in New Zealand, Dunedin, where the breeze can blow you off your feet.
"We won’t make any excuses. We will have to come and hit the ground running.
He added that the side will take heart from the fact that they beat New Zealand on home soil earlier this year and he is ready for the Black Caps to come hard at them.
"The last time we played New Zealand in a Test series, we won on home soil, so now is the return leg and we expect them to really come hard at us and probably take revenge from what happened in the Caribbean.
"But we have our own ideas and we have come here to play good, competitive cricket. 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.
"We have a lot of respect for our opponents and we know New Zealand can be a very competitive side, especially at home.
"We recall that England were the No.1 side in the World when they visited last year and they drew 1-1, and they found the cricket difficult, so we expect the same."
Coach Ottis Gibson, who has racked up the air miles this week with an additional trip to Perth to accompany Marlon Samuels and Shane Shillingford as they had their bowling actions independently tested, stressed that the weather conditions are the biggest thing his side will need to get used to.
"The toughest thing will be getting accustomed to the weather. It’s not something that we encounter every day in our travels around the Caribbean, and India as hot and humid, so it will be a mindset thing.
"The cricket will be the same, but the mindset to overcome the weather will be our biggest challenge.
"Our preparation has not been ideal. It’s been a bit disjointed, but it’s up to us to accept that it’s still cricket and we have to prepare our minds to do what we have to do.
"If we can do this, once the Test starts, I think we will give ourselves the best chance to do well. The easy thing would be to blame the preparation, but we have been playing cricket and the conditions are really the only major hurdle."
The West Indies have only won one Test series in New Zealand in the last 50 years, Courtney Walsh leading the side to a 1-0 win in 1998. They were beaten 2-0 in 1999 and 2006 but drew 0-0 in 2008.
© Cricket World 2013