The current West Indies tour of New Zealand has started badly for the visitors, with the Shane Shillingford suspension controversy almost overshadowing their disappointing performance in losing the Test series 2-0.
The switch to the white ball, a less intensive format, could level things up a little. However, a raft of injuries won't make things easy for the men from the Caribbean.
Let's take a closer look at the first clash of this five-match ODI series, which takes place in Auckland on Boxing Day.
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland, NZ
Date: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Start time: 1 a.m. GMT
Weather: Mixture of sun and clouds (BBC.co.uk/Weather)
TV Info: No UK TV coverage
There's a good buzz about New Zealand's cricket team these days. A strong core of experienced players backed up by some exciting youngsters has yielded some strong performances, leaving Kiwi fans more optimistic than usual.
In 2013, they have contested successful ODI series against England and South Africa, split a three-game tussle with Sri Lanka and were only knocked out of June's ICC Champions Trophy group courtesy of a washout.
Let's write off their whitewash at the hands of Bangladesh as a temporary blip.
Their top six has some serious firepower and the welcome return of Jesse Ryder makes these games perfect for a bit of fine-tuning before the more testing Indians arrive in the second half of January.
The West Indies, on the other hand, are in disarray. Still rocked by Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels' bowling suspensions, the absence of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Kemar Roach and now Samuels through injury—per NZTV Sports—has left Dwayne Bravo's men looking threadbare.
Still, one man's loss is another man's gain, and the likes of Narsingh Deonarine and Nikita Miller will get chances to show what they can do. Meanwhile, proven performers such as Sunil Narine and Test skipper Darren Sammy will have to carry the side if the Windies are going to be competitive.
If morale wasn't low enough after the Test series, the Caribbean Islanders have won just seven of their 20 ODIs this season and have lost all five which were contested away from home.
Auckland isn't exactly a stronghold for New Zealand, however. They have won just 10 of the 28 ODIs contested there in the 21st century. The last time the West Indies visited, the match was rained off after the Kiwis posted 275.
New Zealand (from)
Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson.
West Indies (from)
Dwayne Bravo (capt), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Jason Holder, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons.
Jesse Ryder's welcome return to the New Zealand squad increases the firepower in a potent-looking batting line-up. The Wellington-born slugger has already registered two hundreds and two 80-plus scores in domestic cricket and has a decent record in this format of the game, averaging 34.37 at a strike-rate of 89.72 across 39 matches.
For the Windies, Sunil Narine could be crucial. On the back of a six-wicket haul in the Hamilton Test, the IPL favourite's confidence should be high, returning to his favourite colour of ball. With 62 wickets at 25.67 and an economy rate of 4.14, the Trinidadian could well be Dwayne Bravo's main weapon with the ball.
Who will win the 1st ODI?
The West Indies tour of New Zealand could go from bad to worse once the dust has settled on the ODIs. The Black Caps just seem to be a much stronger cohesive unit. Expect them to make a flying start here in Auckland and to win the series comfortably.