After a record breaking tour Down Under, creating numerous records including becoming the first Asian country to win a Test series and also recording India’s first bilateral ODI series victory, Indian Captain Virat Kohli and his ‘Men in Blue’ will now tour Australia’s neighbour – New Zealand for a five-match ODI series starting on Wednesday, January 23rd at McLean Park, Napier. Following the ODI series, the two teams will play a three match T20I series beginning on 6th February at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
India and New Zealand have played a total of 101 ODI’s against each other with India winning 51 of those while the Kiwis have beaten India on 44 occasions. The last time India toured New Zealand in 2013-14, the Blackcaps swept the series by a margin of 4-0. The two teams have played 8 T20 international matches between them where the Kiwis always had an upper hand over the Men in Blue. New Zealand has won 6 out of the 8 T20Is played.
1st ODI: 07.30am January 23rd at McLean Park, Napier
2nd ODI: 07.30am January 26th at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
3rd ODI: 07.30am January 28th at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
4th ODI: 07.30am January 31st at Seddon Park, Hamilton
5th ODI: 07.30am February 3rd at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
1st T20I: 12.30pm February 6th at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
2nd T20I: 11.30am February 8th at Eden Park, Auckland
3rd T20I: 12.30pm February 10th at Seddon Park, Hamilton
New Zealand is the team to beat in the limited overs format. They have experience in Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and the ever so reliable captain Kane Williamson. New Zealand spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi have troubled India in the past.
One of the biggest absentees from the squad to take on India though is Jimmy Neesham who is in phenomenal form for the Black Caps. Apart from Neesham, Tim Seifert who had a decent series against Sri Lanka misses out. New Zealand had earlier beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in the just concluded ODI series and Mitchell Santner, Tom Latham and Colin De Grandhomme are filling in for the rested players. With the World Cup just a few months away, there is stiff competition for the spots and hence makes this series very enticing.
Latham and Grandhomme were rested for the Sri Lanka series and now make a come back to the team with hopes of cementing their spot. Santner hasn’t played any international cricket for the last 10 months due to a knee surgery. The series will be a perfect litmus test for him who will have to perform in order to cement his spot in the team.
Neesham had suffered a hamstring strain in the third ODI against Sri Lanka and hence is sitting out of the first three ODIs against India. Latham will be New Zealand’s first choice wicketkeeper and will be replacing Tim Seifert. New Zealand will be hopeful about the return of Todd Astle and James Neesham who are missing the first three matches of the series due to injury. New Zealand will look to give a start to many players as possible before the World Cup.
As far as New Zealand’s bowling is concerned, the Kiwis have a strong bowling line-up, which will look to exploit the Indian batsmen with the pace and movement. Tim Southee and Trent Boult are in really good form and were lethal against Sri Lanka.
India had a lot of concerns about the middle-order, but the team management will be relieved to see their batsmen performing in pressure situations. They have rested fast bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah for the tour and youngsters Khaleel Ahmed and Mohammad Siraj will get an opportunity to audition for the upcoming World Cup. Finally, it looks like Virat Kohli has sorted his batting line up with MS Dhoni at number 4 and Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik to follow.
Bhubaneswar Kumar has also found his rhythm. However, there is still a question mark over the inclusion of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul in the squad. Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar have been called up as a replacement.
New Zealand ODI Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor
India ODI Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, K Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Shubman Gill
India T20I Squad: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed, Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar
This tour won’t be a cake walk for sure for Virat Kohli and his men. They will have a hard battle against Kane Williamson and the Blackcaps. The runner-ups of the World Cup 2015 – New Zealand has experience in the team and are playing in their own backyard. India will struggle to find their third seamer and the middle order will definitely be tested. Be sure to see plenty of sixes on the small New Zealand grounds. It will be an even contest for sure.
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