New Zealand ponder ‘enormity’ of India challenge

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Nov 23 (Reuters) – New Zealand open their World Test Championship defence towards India this week with an air of fatigue after an extended street journey and the emotional letdown of the T20 World Cup.

Whitewashed 3-0 by India in a T20 sequence on the heels of their World Cup ultimate defeat by Australia, the ‘Black Caps’ have misplaced that successful feeling as they head into the primary take a look at in Kanpur on Thursday towards an opponent bent on revenge.

New Zealand could have golden recollections of beating India in Southampton to assert the inaugural WTC trophy in June however the impartial territory of the Rose Bowl can hardly appear additional away.

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Without tempo spearhead Trent Boult and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme, New Zealand will face the identical opponents the place they’ve by no means received a take a look at sequence not to mention a take a look at for the reason that 1988/89 tour.

“You realise the enormity of the challenge ahead,” head coach Gary Stead instructed reporters on Tuesday.

“India are a fantastic side. They’ve got world class spinners in their environment here as well.

“(They are) one of the good challenges on the take a look at calendar. It’s one thing we haven’t finished for some time, we’ve not been right here since 2016 however we’re actually wanting ahead to what’s forward.”

New Zealand will have only two training sessions as a full squad before Thursday, with the T20 players having rejoined the camp on Monday following the defeat in Kolkata. read more

A number of players are well short of match fitness, including batsman Ross Taylor and paceman Neil Wagner.

Selectors have yet to decide who will replace batsman Devon Conway for the first test after he broke his hand punching his bat at the World Cup.

“We’re as ready as we may be on this COVID world,” said Stead.

“India are additionally coming off a T20 sequence … Hopefully for us they’re in an identical boat to what we’re as effectively.”

New Zealand’s four-prong pace attack reigned supreme in the last COVID-affected WTC cycle but the Black Caps will be unable to fall back on their traditional strengths in Kanpur and Mumbai.

They will hope left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel and offspinner Will Somerville can pressure India’s powerful batting lineup, with all-rounder Mitch Santner also likely to be on hand with left-arm spin.

Stead acknowledged New Zealand would need to manage some players carefully after their long stint on the road but said there was little time to dwell on things.

“In two weeks we’ll be on a airplane residence, issues will occur actually shortly for us,” he said. “So it’s actually essential that we get targeted on the job and the challenge that’s in entrance of us.”

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Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

Cricket - ICC Men's T20 World Cup - Super 12 - Group 2 - India v New Zealand - Dubai International Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - October 31, 2021 India's Virat Kohli with New Zealand's Kane Williamson after the match. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Cricket - ICC World Test Championship Final - India v New Zealand - Rose Bowl, Southampton, Britain - June 23, 2021 New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy after winning the final to become the ICC World Test Champions Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley/File Photo

Cricket - ICC Men's T20 World Cup - Super 12 - Group 2 - India v New Zealand - Dubai International Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - October 31, 2021 India's Virat Kohli with New Zealand's Kane Williamson after the match. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed