New Zealand and the West Indies go into their two-Test series both looking for a boost, but with radically different recent histories.
For the Black Caps, a struggle to overcome Bangladesh was followed by failure against a vulnerable Australia, and the selectors’ dissatisfaction with the latter is evident from the changes that have been made to the Test side for this series. Out have gone Aaron Redmond, Chris Martin, Grant Elliott, Tim Southee, Peter Fulton; in have come Jacob Oram, James Franklin, Mark Gillespie, Tim McIntosh and Jeetan Patel.
The West Indies, or at least some of them, come in to the series radically richer than they were a few weeks ago following the Stanford Super Series. What effect this will have on the team dynamic, and on the relative importance afforded to Test cricket as opposed to Twenty20, remains to be seen.
The fact that the home side have recently slipped behind the tourists in the ICC Test rankings has not been lost on either side, and this factor promises to increase the pressure on both sides. Recent history between these sides suggests that New Zealand are favourites, but the Windies will fancy their chances, and this should be a close (and, I hope, entertaining) series.