Ottis Gibson banking on home advantage to beat Black Caps
Bridgetown (Barbados), May 28 (IANS/CMC) The West Indies are banking on home advantage to give them the edge over New Zealand in the upcoming three-Test series.
The regional side swept the Black Caps in a two-Test series in the Caribbean two years ago but were then handed a thrashing on the road last year, losing the three-match series 2-0, reports CMC.
Head coach Ottis Gibson said he was expecting an improved performance from his side, especially after the whipping last year.
"The time before that (2012) we played them in our own backyards and we beat them quite comfortably and then we went away (last year) and they won quite comfortably over there so now it is our opportunity to show that what happened in New Zealand was a blip, if you like," Gibson said.
"It was unexpected but they (New Zealand) played very well. They are a resurgent sort of team so you have to give them the respect they deserve. We just have to make sure we put in the level of performance that we need to beat them.
"It is not going to be easy but playing at home will always give us confidence, especially with the fans behind us, to go out and do well and win the series."
Gibson was speaking to media during the opening day of a practice match at the 3Ws Oval, University of West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus. The match is part of the ongoing preparation camp which sees a 15-man squad gearing up for the series which bowls off June 8 in Jamaica.
West Indies are welcoming back fast bowler Jerome Taylor who has not played international cricket in four years, along with fellow speedster Kemar Roach, who has been out of competitive cricket for nearly a year.
Roach, who has led the Windies attack in recent years, is coming off surgery in December but Gibson said he had responded well to training.
"He's gone very well in the last couple of days. He's back up to speed, there's no concern with him," said Gibson.
"He's bowling, throwing and doing everything you would expect from an international cricketer."
The camp, which started Friday and winds up on June 4, will see the West Indies play another warm-up match before heading to Jamaica.
Gibson said he was buoyed by the response of the squad to the training camp.
"The guys that are here have worked quite hard up to now so we're all very excited as we build up towards Jamaica," Gibson said.