The task doesn't get easier for the struggling Black Caps with West Indies whirlwind batsman Chris Gayle returning to test action for the first time in 18 months when the opening five-dayer starts in Antigua on Thursday (NZ time).
Gayle, off the test scene since 2010 because of disputes with the West Indies board, was today confirmed in the West Indies 13-man test squad.
During his self-imposed test exile, Gayle has been happy to take his aggressive batting to the lucrative IPL in India and Big Bash in Australia as well as Bangladesh's T20 league.
But the charismatic 32-year-old Jamaican has made his peace with the administrators and his test selection follows some hot form for the Windies in the Twenty20 and one-day series against New Zealand.
Gayle recorded scores of 85*, 53, 63*, 125, 11, 16 and 5 in seven innings against New Zealand. He totalled 358 runs at an average of 71.6, confirming his status as the sweetest hitter of the ball in the short forms of the game.
He will bring his aggressive approach back to the test scene where he has played 91 matches, averaging 41.65 and having scored 13 centuries and 33 half centuries.
The West Indies also confirmed the return of classy Shivnarine Chanderpaul after he missed the last test against England with a side strain.
The only respite for the Black Caps is the absence of Darren Bravo who is still recovering from a groin strain suffered during the tour of England.
The West Indies have named just one spinner in Sunil Narine who dominated the Black Caps in the short versions of the game, claiming seven wickets in two T20s and 13 wickets in the five ODIs, including one five-wicket haul.
West Indies test squad: Chris Gayle, Adrian Barath, Kieran Powell, Assad Fudadin, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Narsingh Deonarine, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy (c), Tino Best, Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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