‘Batters will be in spotlight again’ – CWI chief selector Harper wants more from the crease for NZ tour

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Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, expects the team’s batting to once again be placed under the microscope when its tour of New Zealand begins next month.

The team’s batsmen faced plenty of criticism in a 2-1 loss to England, earlier this year, and a quick look at the recent batting statistics suggests they may well deserve it.  For the series, the team averaged close to 27.86 and it was one of the best batting performances in a series in recent years.

In fact, it is the fourth-best for the West Indies’ batsmen among all the series consisting of two or more matches since 2017.  Their highest batting average in a Test series consisting of at least two matches since 2017 is 34.66; which came in Zimbabwe in 2017.  Harper knows they will need to do much better to have a chance against the Blackcaps.

“New Zealand are very competitive, in their own backyard especially.  They play very well as a team.  They plan well and they execute well. We have to be at the top of our game,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“Again, a lot of questions will be asked of our batting and that’s the department that needs to step up for us in order for us to have a real chance of getting a positive result in the series,” he added.

The historic England tour ended on a bit of a sour note for the regional team, not only because of a 2-1 loss to the hosts but the manner of the defeat, which represented somewhat of a collapse by the Jason Holder-led unit. Things began brightly with the team putting in a strong all-around performance to secure a four-wicket win in the first Test.

“I’m looking for the team to build on its performance in England.  Winning away Test matches hasn’t been something we have done consistently.  We won one in England and we were positioned to really draw that series comfortably, if not win it, and I’m looking for us to build on that in New Zealand.”

In recent times, the West Indies have not had the best of fortune in New Zealand, where they have lost three of the last four T20 series, with one draw, while losing four of the last five-Test series again managing one draw.