File Image of New Zealand ODI Team. (Getty Images)
Dharamsala: New Zealand will welcome back their most successful bowler and most destructive batsman Sunday at the start of a five-match ODI series against a below-strength India after a mauling in the Tests.
Tim Southee, whose 135 one-day wickets put him at the top of the chart of New Zealand's current players, missed the recent three-match Test series with an ankle injury as his team-mates were whitewashed by their hosts.
But the 27-year-old's return should give the Black Caps a much-needed boost for the series opener in the Himalayan hill station of Dharamsala where the chillier conditions will be far more familiar for the tourists.
Corey Anderson, who has the highest strike of any New Zealand player in ODI history, is back from an ankle injury to bolster the batting at a ground where New Zealand enjoyed one of their most satisfying recent wins.
Back in March, New Zealand beat arch rivals Australia at the picturesque Dharamasala ground by eight runs in the World Twenty20, gaining a measure of revenge for their defeat in last year's 50 over World Cup final.
Anderson and Southee's return gives a more experienced look to a tour party which coach Mike Hesson admits are "in a trough" and need "to move on pretty quickly" from their Test disappointment.
Southee, who has not played an ODI for New Zealand this year, said "the guys were hurting a bit" after the Test disappointment but predicted a close ODI series which he was particularly looking forward to.
"It's never nice to be injured and having to watch so it's exciting to get back out there," he told New Zealand Cricket's website.
"We can't dwell on it (the defeat in the Tests) too much, we have an important one day series ahead that everyone is looking forward to and I think (it) will be a very evenly contested one day series.
"We've shown in the last wee while that we're a good one day side and we're looking to always improve that record away from home as well and there's no better place to do it than in one of the harder places to tour."
While the return of Southee gives New Zealand more options, their hosts will be hampered by the absence of several of their leading bowlers.