India had a good start to the new season as they defeated Sri Lanka comprehensively in the five match one-day series and in the lone T20 match. Hardly anyone expected India to be so clinical in their approach because Indian team has always been a slow starter.
Now the focus has shifted from Sri Lanka to India as the Indian team is ready to host New Zealand in a week’s time. India for the rest of the year and for a major part of the next year will play on their home soil (barring the T20 World Cup to be played in Sri Lanka in September). India in recent future will host England and Australia, the two teams which embarrassed India and cost them the number one Test squad.
New Zealand series will be more of training for the upcoming series. It is quite odd to see a series without one-day matches. But there is a good reason for that. India will play two Test matches against the Black Caps to get their combination and form right for the England series. The two T20 matches are to get prepared for the T20 World Cup.
New Zealand is one of the weakest sides going around, they recently lost both their matches against West Indies, keeping in mind that Bangladesh defeated West Indies in West Indies not so long ago. Kiwis have one of the weakest bowling attacks and their batting line is pretty fragile. Daniel Vettori was the one player who could have made the difference with both bat and ball but he too will miss the series because of injury.
The struggling New Zealand team provides a good opportunity for the Indians to get back to the winning ways and get their confidence high before they meet the top teams in the world. It gives India the opportunity to try the combination which they want to pursuit in the future. Some of the struggling Indian batsmen have a golden opportunity to score big runs.
The series is actually very important for India, after eight straight losses, India could not have asked for anything better then to play New Zealand in a home series. Indian team is going through a rebuilding process and young players like Kohli, Pujara and Ashwin will get the chance to consolidate their position.
Senior players like VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni and Virender Sehwag will be looking to play some big innings to get the confidence back as all three of them struggled in the tours to England and Australia. For Laxman it could be the last series, Indian selectors have given him the opportunity to decide his own future and Laxman should now that he will have follow Dravid’s suit sooner rather than later.
Indian fast bowlers also need some good spells and they will enjoy bowling against the inexperienced Kiwi batsmen. Umesh Yadav was impressive in Australia but he has lost his way a bit. A good series is certainly going to help him.
Overall, India should beat New Zealand easily, but winning should not be the only goal for India in this series. Indian team should look to experiment in the series and they should look to give the youngsters as much opportunity as they can. The times of the fabulous four are gone and India will have to make best use of the resources that they have got.
Young players need to get opportunity against weaker side before we play them against teams like Australia or England.
Indian team for New Zealand Test series:
MS Dhoni (C), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Ajinkya Rahane, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav.
Indian team New Zealand T20 matches:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir (vice-captain), Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda.
By Indian Sports News Network