International players these days are tutored to make sure they don’t say anything that can show their team or the organisation that controls them, in poor light. Now, New Zealand owe the month-long tour of India to the influential BCCI’s fight with the South African board and their subsequent trimming of the itinerary to that country.
That means those asked to assist India take steps to make sure they don’t rub any player the wrong way lest that affects the home board in any way. There have been some murmurs during the India nets where apparently strict instructions have been issued to that effect. On Saturday, it was New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum’s turn when he was asked about the importance of national boards honouring the Future Tours Programme (FTP). The BCCI has been criticised for not sticking to the ICC-drawn schedule, especially after reducing the South Africa tour to just two Tests. “That is way above my paygrade,” McCullum joked, neatly side-stepping the issue, a few minutes after MS Dhoni had swept aside the question with his patent smile.
But New Zealand are clear where their strengths lie, issuing a warning to India that they would hit them with speed, starting with the McLean Park which should afford pace and bounce. And the swirling is expected to add to their potency by the time Sunday’s first ODI starts.
The Kiwis, are looking up after a strong performance against West Indies. Although, they know India will be a different ball game, the Test and T20 series wins over the Caribbeans showed their main bat, Ross Taylor, who hit three consecutive Test tons, has recovered from the low he suffered after being replaced by McCullum as skipper.
The hosts can pick from the other quicks with Kyle Mills, Mitchell Mcclenaghan and Tim Southee also available.