Beleaguered West Indies opt for day off training

STRONG TOTAL: Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Tino Best walk off after the West Indies posted 367 in their first innings at Hamilton.
STRONG TOTAL: Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Tino Best walk off after the West Indies posted 367 in their first innings at Hamilton.

Perhaps it was the rare treat of a sunny day that swung the decision for the West Indies brains trust.

Or it could easily have been the lack of fit and able bodies.

Whatever the reason, the visitors surprisingly decided not to train in Hamilton yesterday ahead of the final match in their five-game one-day series against New Zealand at Seddon Park tomorrow.

The Windies weren't the only ones with their feet up - the Black Caps also took the day off. But the hosts aren't the team who are 2-1 down in the series (with Napier's match abandoned) and looking as if they have no clues as to how to climb out of an ever-deepening rut.

Some extra catching practice would not go amiss for starters, after they shelled a string of gobbers in Nelson on Saturday to allow New Zealand to mount a formidable tally batting first.

That is not to say the Windies don't also need to work on batting and bowling as well - with a little session on running between the wickets also recommended.

The Windies were woeful in the test series and only just avoided being whitewashed 3-0.

They appeared to have bounced back as they promised to at the start of the one-day series in Auckland with a surprise Boxing Day win over New Zealand.

But since then, it has been a repeat of their capitulations in the test arena here. They were ambushed in Queenstown by Corey Anderson and Jesse Ryder, when it seemed the tourists were ill-prepared for the rain-shortened match, and then were seldom in the contest in Nelson as the Black Caps took the series lead as rain again curtailed play.

Anderson rated the win in Nelson as a good team performance.

"It was a bit of a tougher wicket, so to still get 280 on that was a good result," Anderson said.

"Then to rush through that first 20 overs and come out with a win was a positive."

Anderson felt pressure for places in the New Zealand starting XI was a factor behind their recent successes.

"We've got a good side at the moment and a strong base of players - even the guys who aren't playing at the moment know their role when they come into the side and that makes it a lot easier.

"There's a lot of talented guys sitting on the sidelines. That's always healthy - if you're not performing, then someone will come in and have a crack. I think we're all pushing each other and it's a good culture; we're all happy when someone succeeds."

An oft-heard assessment of the Windies side is that their minds are already on the plane home, despite still having three matches left to play in New Zealand, with two Twenty2o games to follow tomorrow's one-day finale.

The disparity in performance between the two sides has left many New Zealand fans already switching their attentions to the series starting on January 19 against India, who will play five one-day games and two tests.

Anderson said the hosts wanted to make the most of their hold over the Windies.

"When you're on top, you always want to put the foot down and show a bit of dominance," he said.

"I think we can do that and we definitely have been showing that as well.

"It's a big summer for us - we've got India around the corner, so if we can dominate against the West Indies and then put in a really good performance against India then that's a massive step towards the World Cup."

Fairfax Media