BlackCaps in the land of baseball
Sat, 30 Jun 2012 6:44p.m.
By Tony Wright
The BlackCaps get their West Indies tour underway tomorrow morning, with the first of two 20-20 matches in the United States.
It's the second occasion that the Kiwis have played at the ground in Florida, and Ross Taylor hopes it will be a more memorable experience than last time.
The BlackCaps are back in the land of baseball, helping to spread the gospel of cricket.
So will they encounter a pitch that's a diamond in the rough?
“I haven't seen the wicket,” says captain Ross Taylor. “It has been under hessian every time we've trained on it, so I can't comment on the wicket. But if the practice facilities are anything to go by they're a lot bouncier than what we had last time we were here.”
That was two years ago, for America’s first taste of international cricket, when the Kiwis played Sri Lanka in two 20-20s.
The pitch was low and slow, producing meagre scores and dull one-sided contests.
This time around, Cricket USA have done their best to help produce a run-fest.
“The boundaries have been brought in probably 10m, and I'm sure that will add to what will be a good spectacle,” says Taylor.
“The wicket looks like a good one,” says West Indies captain Darren Sammy. “The guys have been practising, and so far so good.”
The BlackCaps are without experienced 20-20 exponents Brendan McCullum, James Franklin, and Jesse Ryder, and face a Windies-side packed with quality all-rounders and master-blaster Chris Gayle.
But Taylor has his own top-order weapon up his sleeve.
“We've got our own players that are world-class,” he says. “At the moment we've currently got the best 20-20 in Martin Guptill in the rankings.”
So how does he plan to combat Gayle's explosive hitting?
“Just get him out as early as possible.”
With a big ex-pat Caribbean population in Florida, the ground is expected to be full for both games.
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