India's limited overs tour of New Zealand, which starts with the first T20I on Friday will pose a challenge to Indian batsmen like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, according to former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson. He however said that if they play close to their body and avoid mistakes in the initial stages, conditions will be conducive to batting.
"For me, the match-up I am interested to see is how Virat Kohli deals with New Zealand seamers in his first 10-20 balls. If he can get starts in NZ, then his hunger for runs will make him difficult to dislodge Kane Williamson," Hesson told TOI. He will score runs in NZ against any attack in the world. It's what the other batsman can do to help Kane dominate long periods of the game that will determine the outcome of the series.
"New Zealand are very hard to beat at home as you can see by their recent record. I however see India having a far more suitable seam bowling attack than they had back in 2014 (the last time the two played Tests in NZ) which means this will be a very even and competitive series."
Asked about what he thinks are the key battles to look forward to in the series, Hesson said, "Trent Boult versus Rohit Sharma in ODIs will be a fascinating match up with a little bit of swing on offer. The New Zealand middle-order against the wrist spinners - Kuldeep and Chahal - will be the key middle-over match-ups. Hopefully, Trent (who is recuperating from an injury) will be back for ODI series as he is a key player for NZ in taking new ball wickets."
Hesson also added that while there were no outward areas of concern for India, the time-frame the team is taking to finalize their permutations and combinations for the T20 World Cup was one of them. "No areas of concern, just the timeframe they place on finalizing the balance of T20 World Cup squad. Without Hardik Pandya on this tour, it provides an excellent opportunity to assess the capabilities of Shivam Dubey in conditions similar to those in Australia (for the T20 World Cup)."
Finally, Hesson offered his views on KL Rahul as a wicketkeeper batsman going forward. "I believe KL is too good a player to not be in every white ball side India put out on the park. He is a good enough keeper to do the job in white ball. My only concern is the toll it will take on his body. If he can stay away from muscle injuries due to overload in a job he doesn't do all the time, then it will be great for the team. Having said that, he keeps regularly for Karnataka and that will aid his preparation."