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Sunday, February 15, 2009

India ready to take on the Kiwis

The Indian selectors have done a fairly reasonable job of selecting the teams for the New Zealand tour. They have carefully considered the characters of the specialists as well as their limitations in either forms of cricket to choose the players for each series.

Ravinder Jadeja has been rewarded for his fifty (on debut against Sri Lanka) with a place in the T20 squad in place of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin has consistently avoided this format for a long time and his reluctance has allowed the youngster to get a chance to play the Kiwis.

The One-Day matches will allow the players to get a feel of the conditions - this will give the Indians an edge in the test series that follows. This does not mean that the Indians will take the ODI's lightly. The Kiwis are back after sharing the ODI series against Australia (though because of the tournament rules, the Aussies took the trophy) - the youngsters in the squad have risen to the occasion on the Aussie tour and must be hoping to continue their good form into the Indian tour.

Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir are the batsmen who will play both the ODI as well as the Test series. It will be first time for MS and Gautam on the NewZealand shores - it is to be seen how quickly they can adjust to the pitches as well as the wind. Sachin, recently, explained the difficulties the players face while on tour to NewZealand - the fact that the wind gets into the eyes of the players when they are batting, makes it a very different challenge for the batsmen. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, the test specialists, have toured here earlier and thus know what are the adjustments that they have to make in their batting, to thrive here. Dinesh Karthick's inclusion means that the skipper can also take time off in matches that are not consequential, if and when they arise.
The ODI specialists like Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma will take in the experience as much as possible so that it will help them during the next tour when hopefully they will be part of both the teams.

The bowlers remain the same across the various formats and hence, the schedule will ensure that by the time the test series start, they would have a good idea on the various lengths required to strike terror in the batsmen's minds. Zaheer Khan was one of the successes during the previous tour and he must be hoping to repeat the success this time around as well.

Overall, as per the ICC ratings, the Kiwis are closer to the Indians in the ODI format while the test rankings show the 2 teams far away between each other. Thanks to the schedule and the fact that the T20 matches start first, the Indian team has enough matches to get acclimatised to the conditions. On that count, the Indian team should start as favorites for the tour.
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