Having turned the tables after a shoddy show in the Test series, New Zealand speedster Tim Southee is confident that the Black Caps will be scripting history by winning their first ever bilateral ODI series in India. “I think the guys are pretty excited to do what no other NZ side has ever done before — come over here and win a one-day series. The excitement in the group is very high,” the New Zealand pacer said on the eve of the series decider.
India-New Zealand bilateral rivalry dates back to 1988 when the Dilip Vengsarkar-led team made a clean 4-0 sweep against John Wright and Co.
In 1995, Mohammad Azharuddin’s Indian team won 3-2, and four years later a Sachin Tendulkar-led team produced an identical result. Their worst defeat has been in 2010 when Gautam Gambhir led India to a 5-0 rout against Ross Taylor and Co. “Everyone is really looking forward to tomorrow. It’s been a long tour for some guys and it’ll be nice to finish what’s been a tough tour on a high note. The spirits are high and everyone is excited about the challenge for tomorrow,” Southee added.
The biggest takeaway from their 19-run Ranchi win was Kane Williamson’s assessment to read the conditions perfectly as the Kiwi skipper not only opted to bowl ignoring the dew but picked three spinners on a surface that surprisingly behaved slow. “I think it’s just the communication. From the batters spent some town in the middle and what they find tough they feed that information to the bowlers,” Southee explained the reason.
“If we bowl we give information to batsman. Not every time we can get it right. Just give ourselves the best chance to read the conditions and adapt quickly.”
Asked about their assessment of the Visakhapatnam wicket, he said they are confident to take a horses for courses approach. “Kane and (coach) Mike will look at the wicket and they’ll come up with the best side they think suited for the wicket,” he said about the surface that has seen India’s monumental 356/9 against Pakistan in the venue’s first ODI in 2005.
“We’ve chopped and changed throughout the series. The pitches have changed in each game. So I guess it’ll be whatever we think the best mix is for this game.”
He further said exciting time lies ahead for the New Zealand ODI side with their three allrounders James Neesham, Mitchell Santner and Corey Anderson young and learning the tricks of the trade. “They’re all very young and still learning the game and so I think it’s exciting in the years to come with those three guys all in their early to mid-20s with big future ahead of them. I don’t think it’s a worry at all, it’s one of their strengths going forward over the next possible 10 years, we’ll have three guys fighting out keeping each other on their toes.”
India’s win in Dharamsala and Mohali had Kohli written all over it as the star batsman steered the chase with his unbeaten knocks. “He’s a quality player especially when India is chasing, his record chasing is phenomenal. He’s obviously a big wicket when any side plays against India. Him and Dhoni they’re records are unbelievable.
Southee said it’s not just Kohli but the others also pose an equal threat. “We have to keep taking wickets. They got quality players in and around those two. We saw the games we’ve won its come down to their last wicket partnerships. They’ve scrambled few runs as well. Not only Kohli but it’s important to keep taking wickets.”