Following the tour of South Africa, India will be embarking on yet another overseas tour and this time it will be heading to New Zealand. Here its record is not exceptional but is still better than in countries like Australia and South Africa. India is also higher in test rankings compared to New Zealand even after the recent series where both the teams have participated – New Zealand defeated West Indies 2-0 in a 3 test series as opposed to India, which lost in South Africa. On current form, the home team is far ahead and this winning momentum could pose some serious challenges for the Indians. There is no doubt that the visitors have it in them to win the tour, having done it during the previous visit.
Conditions: The conditions in New Zealand are pretty similar to England as there is plenty of help for people who are able to move the ball. Since the pitches are true batsmen are able to make the most of it provided they stay in for the long haul. The New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has made it clear that he will prefer green tracks and probably like them to have a lot of bounce as well. That could mean more uncomfortable moments for the Indian batsmen. However, the seamers should enjoy such conditions.
Itinerary: Yet again, the powers-that-be in Indian cricket have opted to go into an overseas series with no practice match ahead of the ODIs. There is a side game before the tests though. So, once again they will be left to treat the one day games as the preparation for the real deal, which is the test series. Ideally, in such short tours it is better to start with the first class games, then tests followed by the ODIs as players are able to acclimatize better.
Opponent team: As has been stated already, New Zealand is in really good space at home as is evident from its latest form. Its batsmen such as Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum have been batting really well in the tests especially. Corey Anderson is an up and coming allrounder who is going places – seam bowling is New Zealand’s main area of strength. The team has different sets of bowlers for both forms of the game and both the groups have been performing really well.
This would mean that the Indian team may not have any respite. On the flipside, in spite of their exceptional performances the Kiwi bowlers are not in the same league as Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel. Having played them recently, if the Indian batsmen apply themselves properly there is no reason that the Indian batsmen cannot prosper. On the flipside, the Indian bowlers may have their work cut out considering the form Ross Taylor & Co. are in. However, they will get helpful conditions and will need to make full use of the same so that the team has a decent chance of winning its second straight series in New Zealand.