India vs New Zealand: Stage set for World Cup rehearsal

Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson says pace will set the tone for the ODI series as the wickets are slightly quicker than that of Australia.

Martin Guptill (right) and Colin Munro during the ODI series against Sri Lanka earlier this month.   -  AFP

 

High on confidence after a successful Australia tour, Team India will be hoping to make it count against the Black Caps in the limited-overs tour of New Zealand starting on Wednesday.

It will not be an easy task for the visiting side as New Zealand will step into the series on the back of a series-win against Sri Lanka.

Mike Hesson, who was New Zealand coach until last year, is of the opinion that the upcoming bilateral series could be a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the World Cup in England that starts May 30.

Mike Hesson (right) and Ish Sodhi during the home series against Windies in 2018.   -  FILE PHOTO/AFP

“Both sides will have to step up. Obviously, India has won against Australia and New Zealand won against Sri Lanka. You have got two high quality sides in very good conditions. The conditions here will be very similar to the World Cup. In terms of the dress rehearsal, it is going to be great,” Hesson tells Sportstar on Monday.

Hesson worked with New Zealand for six years.

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Having known the players and their strengths, he makes it clear that both New Zealand and India will try to fix their final XI for the World Cup.

“Both sides will have one eye on the World Cup in terms of using the whole squad throughout the five ODIs. Both sides will be looking at fine-tuning their combinations,” the former coach, who is now the head coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, Kings XI Punjab, says.

While India will be missing out on Jasprit Bumrah, Hesson says that pace will set the tone for the series. “Both the seam attacks will be relatively even in terms of quality. The wickets in New Zealand are slightly quicker than that of Australia. They will be well-equipped and the ability to swing the ball in both the pace line-up will be critical,” Hesson points out.

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All eyes will also be on Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The erstwhile India captain shunned the critics and had a remarkable one-day series against Australia and Hesson hopes to see Dhoni setting the stage on fire.

“MS Dhoni showed how good he is with the chase. Chase is probably one of the hardest thing in cricket and he showed his ability to get the job done. He is a genius in that part of the game,” Hesson says.

After a high-voltage series against Australia, it will be an opportunity for India to keep the momentum going.