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India vs New Zealand: Virat Kohli aims to put Kane Williamson’s side in place

Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team has top-class wrist spinners and all-round depth and this will worry New Zealand as they kick off their limited-overs contests with the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Oct 21, 2017 19:37 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs New Zealand,India cricket team,New Zealand cricket team
Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team will be aiming to sustain their dominance as they prepare to face a New Zealand side that lacks a bit of experience in the first ODI in Mumbai. (PTI)

The troika of Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will remain in focus as India look to maintain domination at home in their three-match ODI series against New Zealand starting Sunday, at the Wankhede Stadium.

The rampant Indian cricket team has followed skipper Virat Kohli’s diktat to be ‘ruthless’ to near perfection, winning all their matches in Sri Lanka and brushing aside the threat a depleted Australia carried with a 4-1 series win.

However, New Zealand had fared far better than Australia and England on their previous tour to India, and the Kiwis will draw a great deal of confidence from their 2-3 showing last year.

India got a deserved short break following the washout of the final T20 game against Australia at Hyderabad. On the other hand, New Zealand arrived 10 days before the ‘short series’ and picked up as many as six members from the ‘A’ side already playing in India, to get adequate time to acclimatize. Thus they have players to acquire knowledge of conditions and pitches.

Hardik Pandya was the Man of the Series in the recent India vs Australia encounters and he was the big difference. (AFP)

Pandya, spin duo loom

India’s fresh spin pair of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal is shaping up fast as a lethal option, and the rise of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya has allowed India to rest Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.

Pandya’s exploits with the bat against Sri Lanka and Australia have served a warning to New Zealand. New Zealand have spoken about the importance of not bowling lengths off which Pandya likes to hit.

With Shikhar Dhawan set to return, Virat Kohli will face a tough choice between him and the consistent Ajinkya Rahane, who scored four fifties on the trot against Australia.

Though this series may not carry great significance for various reasons, the likes of Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav will face the heat to perform to stay in contention.

Ross Taylor slammed a century in the second warm-up game against Board President’s XI and his form will be the key. (AFP)

Taylor’s form

New Zealand have had mixed results in their two warm-up matches.

Tom Latham’s new role as wicketkeeper and No 5 batsman is the biggest change in Kiwis ranks. And with a quickfire century, he has signalled his readiness for the grind of keeping wicket in the subcontinent and getting runs.

Kane Williamson confirmed Colin Munro will move up to partner Martin Guptill, but what will raise New Zealand’s hope is the cracking century from Ross Taylor in the second tour match. Taylor’s belligerent knock showed signs he is getting into rhythm, and the Kiwis will need him to come good.

New Zealand have drafted in Ish Sodhi after fellow leg-spinner Todd Astle was ruled out due to a groin injury, but expectations will be pinned on Trent Boult (5/38 in the first tour match) and Mitchell Santner’s all-round skills.


India: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (Capt), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, George Worker, Matt Henry, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Glenn Phillips (wk), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee.

First Published: Oct 21, 2017 19:36 IST