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India vs New Zealand | How Kiwi Middle-Order Plays Kuldeep, Chahal Will Dictate Series: Hesson

Devadyuti Das |January 22, 2019, 8:17 AM IST
India vs New Zealand | How Kiwi Middle-Order Plays Kuldeep, Chahal Will Dictate Series: Hesson

New Delhi: The high of a victorious Australian summer is still not over but Virat Kohli & Co are bracing themselves for sterner tests as the first of the five ODIs against New Zealand gets underway at Napier on Wednesday (January 23). India came from behind to clinch the three-match ODI series against Australia 2-1 but the Trans-Tasman rivals will pose a much greater threat under the leadership of Kane Williamson.

Historically, India have never traveled well to the New Zealand — winning just 10 out of the 34 ODIs — including a 4-0 loss in the 2013-14 series. This time around, the stakes will be much higher with India being the No. 2 ODI side in the world, just one place above the Black Caps.

Former Kiwi coach Mike Hesson believes both sides couldn’t have asked for a better dress rehearsal in the lead up to the World Cup.

“We have two of the top three ODI sides competing in this ODI series. In terms of preparation for World Cup, you couldn’t ask for a better dress rehearsal,” Hesson told CricketNext.

Hesson, who quit as New Zealand head coach last year, left behind a very imposing legacy as coach. His tenure included New Zealand’s first World Cup final appearance in 2015, seven successive undefeated Test series (2013-2015) and a record-equaling 13 undefeated Tests at home (2012-2016). He also became the longest serving Kiwi coach — six years in charge — surpassing the record of John Bracewell.

The former coach believes the biggest threat for India in the series will be Ross Taylor. The former New Zealand captain has been the second-most successful batsman in ODI cricket after Kohli since the 2015 World Cup — averaging 69.72 in the period. More significantly, he averages over 90 in the last 12 months.

“Ross Taylor is averaging in the 90s in the last 12 months, he is the New Zealand big gun in the middle-order. Apart from that the all-rounders (Jimmy) Neesham, (Colin) De Grandhomme, (Doug) Bracewell and (Mitchell) Santner will all be crucial. The four of them are vying for two spots in World Cup squad. From seam bowling point of view, who is going to back up Trent Boult is a big question. (Tim) Southee has been a good partner but he’s under little bit of pressure, certainly needs to step up,” Hesson, who will be coaching IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab this season, said.

The 44-year-old, who has also coached the likes of Argentina and Kenya, is impressed by MS Dhoni’s return to form in the Australia ODIs, where he was declared the man-of-the-series for three fifties on the trot.

“Dhoni’s runs just shows the value of experience. Most players in the world would have panicked considering the situation Dhoni was in but he looked calmer than anybody else. It suggests that he has been in this situation many times before and knows how to pace a chase. Challenge for Dhoni is going to be when the side is batting first, how hard he needs to go. In terms of chasing a total, which is still the hardest thing in cricket, he is a genius,” Hesson said.

The coach from Dunedin believes wrist spinners in both sides could hold the key to winning the ODI series. India have chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in their squad while the home side would field leg-spinners Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle in the series.

“Wrist spinners Sodhi, Yadav and Chahal as well as Todd Astle will definitely play a big role, more than the finger in Santner who can provide the all-rounder’s role for the Black Caps. I believe both Sodhi and Astle are in the running for World Cup slots with the kind of pitches what will be on offer in England that time of the year. India with Kuldeep and Chahal have got very good variety. The ability of the New Zealand middle-order to play the wrist spin will probably dictate the course of this ODI series,” Hesson felt.

Finally, on the conditions that will be on offer in venues like Napier, Mount Maunganui, Hamilton and Wellington, Hesson said, “In general, the pitches will be flat. For the wrist spinners, it will offer a little bit in terms of turn. There will be bounce on offer and both sides have good enough pace bowlers to challenge batsmen with bounce. It depends on whether the ball will swing. Hamilton and Maunganui is where ball will swing, so both sides will look to attack in the powerplays when the ball is swinging.”

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
IND
9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
2
AUS
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
3
ENG
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
4
NZ
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
5
PAK
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
6
SL
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
7
SA
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
8
BAN
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9
WI
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
10
AFG
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more