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India at ease

For New Zealand, just the fact of being ahead in this two-match mini-series is enough to get the team going. Now they know that all that stands between them and a ticket box in terms of the Twenty20 series win is three hours of hard cricket, reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Feb 27, 2009 11:05 IST

This Indian team is not one to stand on formality or to just do something because it's seen to be the right thing. They landed in Wellington, got their first sight of the ubiquitous sea and promptly cancelled a practice session.

After a loss, especially with the Westpac Park being a venue most of these players are unfamiliar with, an Indian team of old would have been seen going through an extra-long practice session.

But Gary Kirsten is not the kind to force his players to do one thing or another. And MS Dhoni has not earned universal respect by treating his teammates like schoolboys. If anything, Dhoni has transferred the onus of having to think for the team onto the players, leaving them all with a bit of mental work to do in order to get the right result.

It's easier to predict trends in the dipping Sensex than in T20 cricket, but if you were forced to, you'd suggest that the Indian players would tone things down a touch for the next game. They're proud of what they have achieved in the shortest version and will not want to lose two on the trot.

Harbhajan Singh will most likely be telling other slow bowlers that these grounds aren't suited to toss the ball up or give it a rip. Sehwag, on the other hand, is unlikely to be brooding over the loss and will continue to go hammer and tongs.

Indeed, Yuvraj Singh, who admitted that the batsmen "played too many shots," brushed aside suggestions that the loss was a setback to the team. "Setback? For the first game? It's not a setback," said Yuvraj soon after the team landed. "It's the first game of the series. We've got five one-dayers, three Tests, another T20, it's a long tour, so we're all geared up for it."

What they better get geared up for is watery eyes and quick adjustments of position. If Christchurch was on the cooler side and occasionally uncomfortable, Wellington has the wind blowing as though you're constantly in a storm. India's fielding wasn't exactly top-notch in the first game and that's another thing they will want to set right.

For New Zealand, just the fact of being ahead in this two-match mini-series is enough to get the team going. Now they know that all that stands between them and a ticket box in terms of the Twenty20 series win is three hours of hard cricket.