Roger Harper

TOUGH TOUR AHEAD: West Indies’ chief selector Roger Harper

West Indies’ chairman of selectors Roger Harper is expecting a tough challenge from the Kiwis when the Windies travel to New Zealand later this month for three T20 internationals and two Test matches.

Harper is also expecting the higher ranked New Zealand team to come hard at Jason Holder and company but is confident the Windies can weather the storm and be competitive away from home.

West Indies are expected to depart at the end of October for the tour of New Zealand which runs from November 27 to December 15.

The tour will see the Test squad accompanied by members of the T20 unit plus reserves departing first, with any players currently competing in the Indian Premier League expected to follow after fulfilling their franchise commitments.

Speaking on the Mason and Guest radio show on Tuesday, Harper said the Windies will have to be at the top of their game if they are to be competitive in the series.

Asked about his expectations for the tour of New Zealand, Harper said: “I am looking for the team to build on the performance from England.”

The West Indies lost the Test series in England 2-1 with the hosts coming back to win the final two matches.

“You know winning away Test matches hasn’t been something that we’ve done consistently. We won one in England and we were in a position to really draw that series comfortably, if not win it. So I’m looking for us to build on that in New Zealand,” he added.

About their opponents, Harper said: “New Zealand isn’t going to be an easy tour. New Zealand are very competitive in their own back yard. They are very competitive as a team and they plan well and implement those plans well, so we have to be at the top of our game.”

The focus will again be on the team’s batting for the Windies with Harper noting that “a lot of questions are going to be asked about the batting.

“That is the department that has to stand up for us in order for us to be competitive and to have a real chance of getting a positive result in the series,” he continued.

“I think certainly we have the ability but we really have to apply ourselves and execute well. As I said earlier on the show, batting is the key and if we can score a total in excess of 600 runs in a Test match, we’ll give ourselves a good chance,” the former West Indies player added.

About the selection of the team, Harper said: “Everyone has a different 15 and that proves the point that you are not going to please everyone but I think when we put the squad together, the important thing is that, as a (selection) panel, we think that we’ve done the best job possible and picked the best players who can perform the task.”

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