Hamilton: New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling is expecting the pitches in the Caribbean to offer a lot of turn, leading to guarded optimism about New Zealand's chances ahead of their tour of the West Indies next month.
West Indies have potentially five spinners vying to make it to the squads to face New Zealand starting July 5. Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree are in the Twenty20 squad for two matches against New Zealand in Miami before the series starts, while the offspinner Shane Shillingford was part of West Indies' last two Test series. Devendra Bishoo and Suleiman Benn, both spinners with international experience, represented West Indies A against India recently.
"I'm preparing for a barrage of spin," Watling told the Waikato Times. "From what we saw when Australia toured there, and what we've been hearing, they [the pitches] weren't the greatest. They were low and slow, and with a lot of turn.
The Kiwi expects pitches in WI to be similar to the ones that Australia played on during their series in April.
"(West Indies) can perform on the day and have the potential to be very good. We'll be well-prepared because we're going to have to be right on our game. The two teams aren't renowned for their consistency, so we'll be looking to be the more consistent - we want to come out on top in key situations."
Watling, 26, has been in and out of New Zealand's Test and ODIs teams since making his international debut in December 2009. Having played just two Twenty20 internationals, he was eager to perform after recovering from a hip injury that saw the South Africa-born Kruger van Wyk keep wicket for New Zealand in Test cricket earlier this year.
"It was good for me to get out there and catch some balls, get my workloads up and just good to get outside," he said. "The injury felt really good - I tested it out a lot last week and it held up well. I've been doing my rehab and it's got better and better. I will definitely get a decent workout, but I'm confident I'll get through it."