Thursday, February 19, 2009

India tour to NewZealand- A curtain raiser

Moving onto their eighth tour to New Zealand in last forty years, the Indian cricket team appears confident while showing off their new deep-blue jersey on the modelling ramp. While confident talk is one thing, performance on the field is different.

A glance at India's performance in the last seven tours reveal that India has won only 4 out of 18 test matches & 6 of out 20 ODIs played against New Zealand on their home grounds. India's first tour in '67-68 was a successful tour where India's famous spin trio knocked out the Kiwis 3-1 in the test series. The first tour was historic because that was India's first overseas series victory in 12 attempts. Since then, India has never won a series in New Zealand. Their last outing in 2002-03 was a disaster as India lost the test series 0-2 & the ODIs 2-5. India has not played a T20 in New Zealand. For that matter, India has played just one T20 match with New Zealand . That was during the T20 World Cup in 2007. There too, India had lost and it was their only loss in the tournament.

Tendulkar feels that the condition in New Zealand will be windy & harsh while the comeback bowler Balaji is hungry to perform in the tests irrespective of the conditions. Srinath who played in the disastrous 2002-03 series, thinks that the "drop-in" pitches were the source of problems. John Wright,the Indian coach in 2002-03, is of the opinion that India's present bowling attack led by Zaheer,Ishant & backed by quality spinners like Harbhajan, Sehwag will prove decisive for India. Dhoni & Kirsten,the present Indian coach, are content with the right balance in their team.

The NewZealanders are match fit after some good showing against the Windies & the Aussies and will be taking on India on more than equal terms since they are playing at home. While the quality of pitches could possibly be a factor to tweak with, for New Zealand; the pressure is on India to perform & rewrite history after 40 years.

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