Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly believes Team India is the firm favourite for the impending limited-overs series against Kane Williamson-led New Zealand after hosts enjoyed a thumping 4-1 victory in five-match ODI series, before levelling the Twenty20 series one each, as soggy outfield forced the authorities — to abandon the third T20I in Hyderabad.
“India are strong favourites to win the upcoming series. They played well against Australia,” Ganguly revealed it to the YouTube channel Sports Tak.
As Virat Kohli-led side is aiming to extend their run in the limited-overs format, the ICC’s World ranked No. 2 Men in Blue will face the Black Caps at iconic Wankhede in Mumbai, as the series will kick off on October 22.
With Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, the Black Caps are looking forward to repeating the T20 World Cup Nagpur show, as Ganguly feels the visiting spinners could prove a point during the middle overs while adding he does not know how much they could leave an impact against a side which plays spin well.
“However, New Zealand have spinners, who can control the game a bit in the middle overs. I don’t know how much, but they will,” Ganguly maintained.
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The Kolkata-born left-handed batsman Ganguly, who is the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) further suggested the national side to rely on their strength, as the Black Caps’ spinners can test the batting-heavy India in the subcontinent.
Pertinently, leg-spinner Sodhi was called as a replacement for promising batsman Todd Astle, who was ruled out of the limited-overs series while nursing groin injury.
Moreover, India has been on a roll following their promising show across formats which would further see them facing the challenge from the side which is placed fifth in the ICC rankings in fifty-over format.
“I believe that our “Big Boys” will make a little more difficult for New Zealand,” Ganguly added.
In 2016, when New Zealand convincingly won by 47 runs against the then Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side in the low-scoring affair, as this time around Kohli would be keen to take the revenge against a team which has already some big names in the fold.
Both the spinners Santner and Sodhi shared seven wickets in that match at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium (VCSA) in Nagpur and had equally fared well in their two first-warm-up fixtures at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai against Board President XI led by Shreyas Iyer.
“India A boys gave a dress rehearsal to the New Zealand A team, which had quite a few senior members,” Ganguly remarked.
Earlier, the warm-up fixtures scheduled on October 17 and 19 respectively resulted in a draw.
Ganguly played 311 ODIs, 113 Tests for India between 1992 and 2008. He scored at the average of 42.17 in the longest version of the game and 41.02 in a One-day format.
Known as Dada, Ganguly used to bowl right-arm medium pace during his 16-year-long career which further saw him collecting 132 wickets in both the formats.