Kiwis ready for "one of the toughest challenges"

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said that the India tour will be a tough challenge for his team but at the same time also an exciting opportunity to prove themselves.

Kane-Williamson, New Zealand-India test series, India-home-season

Kane Williamson speaks at the press conference ahead of the test series against India.   -  PTI

New Zealand team is here. Prepared to face spin and looking to reverse swing “in this part of the world.”

Underdogs in the three-Test series but serious contenders in the five-match ODI series, the Kiwis are looking to pull off a few surprises.

In the team’s first press conference of the tour, that begins with a three-day practice match against Ranji Trophy champion Mumbai here from September 16, skipper Kane Williamson and coach Mike Hesson sounded confident of meeting the challenges in both formats of the game.

Williamson said, “India is a tough place to play, particularly, I suppose, in more recent years the pitches have been very tricky. I guess (when) you throw in world-class spinners, the challenges are very tough but at the same time we see it as a very exciting opportunity.”

> READ: Kane Williamson: ‘I admire Virat, learn a lot from him’

Last time, when New Zealand toured India, in August-September 2012, the host won both Tests with off-spinner R. Ashwin scalping five wickets or more in three out of four innings!

“In the previous series here, certainly spin played a huge part and I think at times batting was difficult. So, no doubt, would be a bit of a scrap. Spin for both teams will play a big part. We have three very good spinners as well, and so it should be a good contest. India in their home conditions is one of the toughest challenges in the game, particularly in the Test formats,” said Williamson.

If the Kiwis have the confidence in the trio of off-spinner Mark Craig, left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, it comes from the fact that a number of overseas spinners have troubled the Indians at home in the last few years.

“The challenge for us, firstly, is adjusting to the different ball — the SG Test is going to be completely different to what we have been operating with the Kookaburra. So, there is a little bit of change there, a little bit of changing around seam angles, which are different over here.”

On the role of speedsters Tim Southee and Trent Boult, Williamson said, “There is certainly an element of reverse swing when you come to this part of the world. Wherever you travel, you certainly need to adapt and I think that’s shown in many forms and tactics and certainly your selection.”

Hesson was of the view that reverse swing is a huge component of playing cricket overseas. “We have obviously spent a lot of time in Zimbabwe where we got the ball to reverse, and on surfaces that aren’t responsive in terms of seam movement and they are abrasive and lose their shine quickly, you need to find another way. So, overseas teams are keen to find ways to get the ball to reverse obviously in a legitimate fashion so there are many different methods and we certainly are going to have to be working on that over the coming days.”