New Zealand’s record in India doesn’t inspire too much confidence as the series between the two dynamic sides remains an awaited one. In their own conditions, the Indians are simply unmatchable as their bowlers hover around the opposing batsmen like hungry vultures. The last time New Zealand toured India in 2012, it was a complete rout as the Blackcaps were blown away by the spin twins of R. Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.
4 years have passed since that tour, and in this phase, R. Ashwin has become an even more dangerous bowler. For New Zealand to harbor any hopes of doing well in the upcoming three-match series, their spinners will have to be on the money. When the two sides met in Nagpur during the World T20, the Kiwi spinners outclassed the Indian batsman.
Coach Mike Hesson, in his chat with the media, admitted that his spinners would have to do the bulk of the damage. “They’re a young spin-bowling group. Probably Ish and Mitch have found white-ball cricket a little easier than Test cricket,” Hesson said. “They’re both evolving nicely and it’s about giving them opportunity.”I’ve been really pleased with the way Mark Craig has come back from last season. He’s made a few changes technically and the ball seems to be coming out really nicely.”
Hesson further added that the spinners would have to bowl a lot of overs. “Seamers if anything might bowl two-three overs up front and it’s more likely they’re going to have spin at one end to start with if they’re going to play three of them,” Hesson said. “And if you’ve got two left-handers against Ashwin at the top it’s going to be a big challenge for us. We have to assess conditions and pick what we think is the right mix.”
Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner have already proved themselves in the international circuit with some decent performances. During New Zealand’s impressive run in the ICC World T20 earlier this year, it was this spin duo which bowled pretty well on some dustbowls.
Another interesting selection was that of all rounder Jimmy Neesham, who on his day is an explosive package. “We’ve gone about things a little different this time, been more thorough and hopefully that will give the chance of a successful comeback,” Neesham said. “I feel a lot fresher now, both while batting and with my bowling.”I’ve been able to get my loads up now to a level where I should be able to get through Test cricket. The proof will be in the pudding, but I’m confident.”