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India vs New Zealand | Former Coach Mike Hesson Wants Henry Nicholls, Tim Southee For India Game

Former coach Mike Hesson believes the Black Caps need to make a couple of changes keeping the opposition in mind.

Cricketnext Staff |June 12, 2019, 3:57 PM IST
India vs New Zealand | Former Coach Mike Hesson Wants Henry Nicholls, Tim Southee For India Game

New Zealand are currently on top of the ICC World Cup 2019 points table with three wins out of three but this unbeaten record will be put to test when they face India at Trent Bridge on Thursday (June 13). Former coach Mike Hesson believes the Black Caps need to make a couple of changes keeping the opposition in mind.

“Now we start our tournament proper. The standard of opposition is going to ramp up but we've seen enough good performances from different players to give the selectors options, and with India next, I'd like to see Henry Nicholls and either Tim Southee or Ish Sodhi come in,” Hesson wrote in his column for

“I don’t subscribe to the theory of never changing a winning team, particularly when Nicholls and Southee were the incumbents before they got injured. It might mean Colin de Grandhomme and Matt Henry sit this one out. Again, horses for courses,” he added.

Hesson was in charge of the national team from 2012 to 2018 before putting in his papers. He was the coach of Kings XI Punjab during the IPL-12 and believes these changes are necessitated given India’s wrist spin threat in the form of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

“Conditions will be so different, and India's two-pronged wrist spin attack of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will challenge our middle order. That's where Nicholls is a serious option at six. Jimmy Neesham and de Grandhomme are both good ball strikers but not our best players of wrist spin.

“If you have Nicholls and Tom Latham in the middle order they can hopefully score freely off these spinners as they can sweep and reverse sweep. You need to be able to have batsmen through the middle who have enough high percentage scoring opportunities,” the 44-year-old from Dunedin said.

The former coach also believes that Nicholls is a better option to tackle spinners in the middle order.

“If you're mainly a down the ground player like de Grandhomme and the ball is spinning both ways then that can be challenging, and India will target him early with spin, I think Nicholls is a better option.

“If they remove all the grass from the pitch, the other option is bring in Sodhi for Henry with Neesham as your third seamer; two frontline spinners and Colin Munro up your sleeve. Sodhi won a T20 title with Nottinghamshire and knows the ground well. Depending on the Trent Bridge surface they've got some strong options,” Hesson wrote.

He was impressed by Black Caps’ all-win record so far in the tournament. “This New Zealand team gets a strong pass mark for their first eight days at the Cricket World Cup, and fans should be increasingly confident about the chances of progressing to the knockout stages. As a coach, you look at the schedule and think the first three are potential banana skin games. New Zealand got through them and did as much as they can, generating a decent net run rate which could be vitally important at the back end to decide a semifinal spot,” he wrote

“We’re following a similar path to 2015 in terms of the start. There was the Sri Lanka game then Scotland where we got a good run rate, then beat England comprehensively. If you can start strongly, as we have, the confidence will grow in this Black Caps outfit.”

Finally, whether New Zealand can stun India, who have posted two impressive wins over South Africa and Australia, Hesson wrote, “Can New Zealand beat India? They showed in the warmup game they can. If you get the ball to swing we're very much in the game. If it doesn't swing and it's flat, we are going to be challenged.

“That's why that middle order is so important with both bat and ball. The fact we can now take wickets through the middle, Lockie Ferguson has been superb; he's bowled fast, at a good angle and created opportunities. At the Champions Trophy two years ago we struggled to do that.

“My team to face India: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee/Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult,” he wrote.

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