India Vs New Zealand may be the series cricket fans have been waiting for
India and New Zealand, both teams, whitewashed each other in the T20I and ODI series respectively. In the shortest format of the game, India outclassed the hosts in all the five T-20I. While in the ODI series New Zealand left their T-20I debacle behind and bounced back strongly, bagged the series 3-0. Men in blue suffered their first ODI whitewash in 31-year. The time has come to take a break from the limited-overs game now both the teams are focusing on the red cherry and white dress cricket.
Fierce battle on the card
The two balance sides are gearing up for the longest format of the game. It is likely to be a nail-biting series between bat and ball in the traditional form of cricket. Team India had performed splendidly against its opponents in recent times. But the ODI drubbing against the Kiwis must dishearten the team’s morale. One should never forget that victory and loss are part and parcel in sports. How quickly Kohli and his troops mentally prepare themselves for the upcoming Test series starting on February 21.
India misses Rohit
India had severely missed the service of its swashbuckling opener, Rohit Sharma in the ODI. The hard-hitting batsman’s absence hit the team in the 50-over game. Unfortunately, he will not be part of the side in the forthcoming Test series, injuring his calf in the fifth T20I. Who will open the innings with Mayank Aggarwal? It is a million-dollar question. The toss is between two youngsters Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw.
Rahul not an ideal choice in Test cricket
Selectors had not shown any interest in picking up KL Rahul in the traditional form of cricket. He deserves to be in the Test squad seeing his recent performance in T20I and ODI. India’s middle-order is rock solid with Pujara, Rahane and Kohli who are the superb combination to thwart any attack. They are the proven match winners. Be careful! Pitches in New Zealand move a lot especially in the morning, and the host’s dreadful pace battery can derail any batting line up.
Bumrah’s form a worry
Indian bowling has the quality to bowl out the Kiwis easily twice in a Test. Bumrah and Shami are the lethal fast bowlers, with the return of Ashwin spin department have got a boost. But Bumrah’s form is a big concern for the team management; he failed to take even a wicket in the ODI series. It seems he has lost his magical nip after his return from injury. One must not forget the old saying of cricket- ‘form is temporary, but class is permanent’. Hopefully, he will bounce back strongly in Test cricket and will be among the wickets.
New Zealand looks formidable
The hosts have the home advantage, and their players are upbeat after whitewashing India in the ODI series. The Kiwis are looking fit and a well-balanced side. Old warhorse Ross Taylor is in superb form. Williamson, Latham and others are capable of scoring heavily to put the opposition down the barrel.
Kiwis pacers challenging to handle
Trent Boult is the spearhead of the Kiwis attack along with Southee, Wagner and others are looking to target the solid Indian batting. Wagner is a lethal package, the 2nd ranked Test bowler in contemporary cricket is looking to hunt big fish like Kohli. It would be an uphill task for Indian batsmen against the Kiwis attack in their backyard.
Uncertainty in cricket always looms. India and New Zealand both have several players who can turnaround the match. Cricket fans will see some superb batting from two top batsmen, Kohli and Williamson. The confident Indian skipper has admitted that the hosts have skilled players in all the departments of the game. So there is no margin of error for team India. Kohli and his troops would like to win the Test series and finish the tour with a high note.