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India look to build on the Asia Cup success

cricket Updated: Aug 10, 2010 00:14 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

When Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men face Ross Taylor's largely inexperienced New Zealand in the tri-series opener at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Tuesday, the youngsters in the India lineup will be keen to build on the gains from last month's Asia Cup victory.

More importantly, they'd be happy to face a team other than Sri Lanka, who have been their most common opponents in the last two years.

Of the 57 ODIs India have played in the last 24 months, 24 (42.10 per cent) have been against the neighbours.

Dhoni too will not mind another one-day tournament is the Emerald Isles.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has an impeccable record here, having won all the four tournaments he has captained in Sri Lanka.

In the light of four certain names for the World Cup being ruled out of the tri-series, it would also offer an opportunity for Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten to test some of the youngsters.

However, the key for India will be to get the right combination.

With Ishant Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary and R Ashwin likely to be benched for the opener, Rohit Sharma, Abhimanyu Mithun and Ravindra Jadeja will battle it out for two of the remaining three slots in the eleven.

New Zealand, on the other hand, will heavily rely on the trio of Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram and Scott Styris if they are to surprise the other two teams. With Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum opting out of the tournament, only five of Kiwi players have featured in more than 50 one-dayers.

In addition to captaincy, Taylor will also carry the burden of leading the batting given the inexperience in the line-up.

The skipper hinted on Monday that rookie Kane Williamson, a right hand batting all-rounder who turned 20 on Sunday, will be the man to watch out for.

The youngster has impressed with his sensational first-class and under-19 performances.

A team that lacks experience, especially of playing in sub-continental conditions, the last thing on the Kiwis' minds would be winning the tournament. Slated to play in all the three World Cup hosting countries, New Zealand kick off their preparations with the tri-series.

This is where they could spring a surprise or two, which will boost their confidence ahead of the showpiece event.

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