New Zealand meet the West Indies in a three-Test series that gets underway in Jamaica on Sunday (8th June). Matt Carter studies the form, the history and the stats in his in-depth preview of the series.
In relation to win percentage over the past two years the West Indies and New Zealand rank seventh and eighth respectively. During that period the West Indies have won six of 17 Tests, compared to New Zealand’s five of 24, although it is worth highlighting that four of those West Indian victories came against either Zimbabwe or Bangladesh.
New Zealand have however only been defeated twice in their last 12 Tests – both of which came in England – and at the same time they have lost only one of their last four series. The Black Caps should enter this contest in high spirits having enjoyed an encouraging summer in which they defeated both India and the West Indies.
In contrast the West Indies have been defeated in each of their previous two series, with that loss in New Zealand being preceded by 2-0 whitewash in India. Prior to that they had won three successive series including a 2-0 home victory over New Zealand back in 2012.
New Zealand away form
Their recent away record is nothing short of wretched given they can boast only a single victory – which came in Sri Lanka – from their last 12 Tests outside New Zealand. That they lost 75% of those fixtures will be of particular concern.
West Indies home form
Encouragingly the West Indies have won 57% of home Tests matches across the last two years, although it is worth mentioning that they have only played seven games during this period. Of considerable reassurance will be that the Windies have won their last four home Tests – two each against Bangladesh and New Zealand.
History between the sides
While the West Indies are in front in regards to the overall head to head statistics – with 12 wins to 11 - New Zealand have generally prospered in the majority of recent meetings between the two nations.
They have won four of the past six series between the sides, with 64% of their Test victories against the West Indies arriving during this time period. The Windies have been victorious in only two of the most recent 13 Tests between the pair, both of which arrived the last time the sides met in the West Indies.
New Zealand clinched victory the most recent contest, winning a three match home series 2-0 in late 2013 – with both of those successes being on the emphatic side. That success means the Kiwis have won 54% of the last 13 Tests the two nations have been involved in – highlighting their recent dominance.
Number of the world’s leading players since January 2012
Focusing on batting averages of the past two years and including only those players have scored at scored at least 400 Test runs during that time, New Zealand can only boast Ross Taylor in the leading 25 – the 30-year-old occupying eighth in this list with an average of almost 60.
In contrast the West Indies can not only claim the leading player on the list – Shivnerine Chanderpaul topping the pile with an average of 79 during this period – but three further batsmen in the top 25: Marlon Samuels (14th) Chris Gayle (23rd) and Dinesh Ramdin (25th).
New Zealand can at least vaunt three batsmen who rank between 25 and 50 - Brendon McCullum, BJ Watling and Kane Williamson all fulfilling this criteria, while at the same time both McCullum and Watling average over 40 during this period.
Darren Bravo is the only other West Indian batsmen - aside from the four earlier mentioned – to feature in the top 50.
Only three bowlers can boast a lower bowling average than West Indies’ Kemar Roach when analysing the bowling averages of the last two years, excluding those bowlers who have taken less than 20 wickets.
Joining Roach in the top ten is Tim Southee who has clinched a hefty 72 scalps during this period at an average that ranks him at ninth. Southee’s strike partner Trent Boult has also enjoyed an excellent two years, with the left armer’s tally of 78 wickets within this timeframe the highest of any bowler from either side.
Boult’s exploits rank him 15th in regards to average and mean New Zealand can claim two bowlers in the top 20 averages. The West Indies can match that feat with Shane Shillingford placed 13th on the list, the spinner picking up 51 victims in a mere nine Tests.
Roach and Shillingford are however the sole West Indian representation in the lowest 50 bowling averages, whereas New Zealand can also claim Neil Wager and Kane Williamson – 33rd and 34th respectively – although the latter has taken only 20 wickets in 23 Tests.
Predicted Line-up Statistics
New Zealand narrowly oust their West Indian counterparts in relation to the cumulative career batting average of their predicted XI – the visitors averaging 322 and the home side 315. That said, if you were to total the averages of only the last two years then the West Indies would prosper with 361 compared to New Zealand’s 336; That both Samuels – 53 in comparison to 33 - and Ramdin – 44 in comparison to 27 - average substantially higher than their career records during this period being the most significant factor in this rise.
The New Zealanders weak link clearly resides at the top of the order where Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford can only claim a cumulative average of 57. It is also worth pointing out that away from home New Zealand’s cumulative average falls to 303 and even then that figure is perhaps slightly inflated by Ish Sodhi and Corey Anderson both averaging over 40 in limited game time.
The West Indies can boast three players whose career averages exceeds 40 – Chanderpaul, Gayle and Bravo – whereas Ross Taylor is the only New Zealand player who joins them.
The West Indies' predicted four-man attack’s combined average is 34 which puts them fractionally clear of New Zealand’s 38. Nonetheless it should be noted that Sodhi’s career average of 60 somewhat inflates that figure and removing the spinner from the calculations in favour of Anderson – New Zealand’s fourth seamer – sees the unit’s combined average drop to a healthy 31.
Unfortunately for them the nature of the surfaces in the West Indies mean Sodhi is likely to face a hefty workload – although it will be of encouragement that his average outside of New Zealand falls to 44 and as a result their predicted four-man attack’s combined average away from home is 35.
The West Indian unit is clearly more potent on home soil, given their predicted attack boasts a combined average of 29 in familiar surroundings – Shane Shillingford averaging over six runs less per victim at home.
Aside from Kemar Roach – who has claimed 12 wickets in two tests – no other West Indian bowler currently averages less than 40 against New Zealand.
By comparison Tim Southee and Trent Boult have between them captured 45 West Indian wickets in just four Tests, boasting averages of 20 and 17 respectively.
What will however be of concern to New Zealand – particularly considering the slow turning tracks they are likely to encounter - is that Sodhi currently averages a hefty 60 in three Tests against the West Indies.
Of the players involved in this Test series nobody has scored more runs than Gayle in fixtures between West Indies and New Zealand – the opener scoring 1050 runs in only nine Tests at an average of 76.
Chanderpaul is the only other to player from either side to have exceeded 1000 runs, although he has played twice as many fixtures as Gayle against New Zealand.
Ross Taylor is the only New Zealand batsmen to average of 40 against the West Indies – with three successive centuries during the most recent series helping him to an average of 76. It is worth noting that three of Kane Williamson’s five Test centuries have come on the subcontinent and a significant proportion of the pitches New Zealand are likely to encounter in the West Indies won’t be too dissimilar from those found in Asia.
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