Craig backing himself to collar Gayle

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, CMC – Rookie off-spinner Mark Craig says he is not intimidated by the prospect of bowling at aggressive West Indies opener Chris Gayle in the upcoming series. The 27-year-old was one of two uncapped players named in New Zealand’s 15-man squad for the three-Test tour of the Caribbean starting June 8 in Jamaica.

“I’m not over-awed by bowling to him,” Craig said. “It’s a good opportunity, not for bragging rights, but if I get him out it’s going to be pretty exciting.”

He added: “I don’t mind getting hit out of the ground every now and then. Then the job’s about getting him out.”

Craig was a bit of a surprise inclusion in the squad, with just 22 first class matches since making his debut three years ago. However, he got the nod after frontline off-spinner Jeetan Patel became unavailable for personal reasons and veteran left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori also ruled himself out.

He is not a complicated spinner. He has no doosra or carrom ball in his arsenal. Despite this, he believes he can still be a threat in international cricket.

“It just means that you’ve got to work that little bit harder in terms of deceiving guys in the air and things like that, if you don’t have the one that goes the other way,” Craig reasoned.

“I basically just try and give the ball as big a rip as I can and spin the ball big and get a bit of drop on the ball and bring in that bounce and try and catch a glove or go through-the-gate to the righties or lbw or nick off to the lefties.”

New Zealand will leave for the Caribbean tomorrow where they play Tests in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.


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