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HomeCricketPreview: 1st Test - New Zealand v West Indies

Preview: 1st Test – New Zealand v West Indies



Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

When you consider how much cricket is packed into the calendar, the fact that New Zealand have not played a Test since the end of March is an eternity.

Out of all the Test playing nations (Ireland and Afghanistan excluded), New Zealand have gone the longest without playing a Test, so they would be pretty happy to step out onto the field in whites in Wellington against an improved West Indies.

There will be no BJ Watling or Tim Southee, who have been mainstays in the New Zealand team. Tom Blundell will make his debut in the wicketkeeper role, and Matt Henry, who averages 48.50 in 8 Tests, will replace Tim Southee. Can Blundell provide the solidity Watling gives? Can Henry extract the movement Southee can? Plenty will be expected from the likes of skipper Kane Williamson, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner to lessen the blows of Watling and Southee missing out.

For West Indies, their recent performances in Test cricket is evidence of improvement in their game. Since pushing England all the way in England, West Indies faced a tricky assignment in Zimbabwe which they passed, and now face another challenge. Do well here and more people will start to take notice of their improvement.

Shai Hope has been absolutely superb in recent times, and is evidence of the hard working nature of this West Indies team. After all, they have a hard working captain in Jason Holder, whose hard work rubs onto his team mates. A big opportunity awaits the West Indies.

The pitch in Wellington is expected to be a traditional New Zealand pitch – movement early in the Test and then flattening out on days two and three. The toss may be crucial – whoever bowls first must take advantage.

Key to a New Zealand win

Bat West Indies out of the Test.
Big runs from the New Zealand top order will set things up for their bowlers. With the improvement in the West Indies batting in recent times, New Zealand can’t expect to blow them away with the ball, which means they’ll need runs on the board.
Trio Tom Latham, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor have big roles to play. Failure from these three will put lots of pressure on Jeet Raval and Henry Nicholls, who are still finding their way in Test cricket, and Tom Blundell who will be on debut.

Key to a West Indies win

Don’t get blown away early.

West Indies will start outsiders in this Test, and to have a chance, they need to compete early. If by day three the game is still in the balance, the West Indies can push for an upset against a New Zealand side without two big players. West Indies won’t win a Test in a day, but can certainly lose it in that time.

Also, West Indies have showed that their lower order can perform well with the bat which can potentially put New Zealand under pressure later in the game. Can their bowlers step up too?

Who to watch out for 

Kane Williamson is always mentioned in the discussion about who the best batsman in the world is. However, thanks to such limited Test cricket in 2017, it is hard for him to prove that as constantly is Joe Root, Steve Smith and Virat Kohli get the opportunity to. He will be looking forward to a big series.

How good has Shai Hope been recently? He backed up a great series in England with another great effort in Zimbabwe and will be looking to continue in the same vein. He holds so importance with the bat for the West Indies.

Stats and facts:

  • New Zealand since 2012/13 have won two of five Test series against top four ranked opposition. Against opposition ranked lower than fourth, their record is 100% (West Indies, Sri Lanka twice and Bangladesh).

  • Shai Hope in West Indies’ last two tours (England and Zimbabwe): 549 runs at average of 78.43
  • Since New Zealand last played a Test, West Indies have played eight.
  • West Indies have not won a Test in New Zealand for 22 years. 

This should be an interesting Test as New Zealand look a little unsettled, while West Indies will be aiming to build on solid recent Test performances.
Will New Zealand be rusty? Perhaps early on, but they still have enough talent to get the job done in Wellington. New Zealand to win, but it won’t be easy.
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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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