Virat Kohli & co. travel to New Zealand for their first away tour of 2020, fresh off a thumping win over Australia in the ODI series at home.
The last time India toured New Zealand for the limited-overs leg, they comprehensively beat the Black Caps 4-1 in the ODIs but suffered a 1-2 defeat in the T20 games, with the last match going right down to the wire.
Predictably the Indian camp is not taking their opponents lightly despite the Kiwis getting thrashed in their last series versus the Kangaroos.
“You have to play good cricket to win. know what they bring to the table while playing at home. We are not going to take them for granted. They know their conditions well, they understand how the pitches play, the angles off the field. They will have a slight home advantage. But we have also played here a lot. So we definitely have to be at our best.”
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 23, 2020
It was New Zealand who dumped India out of the 2019 World Cup with a thrilling win in Manchester. So does India have revenge on their mind?
“Not really. Even if you want to think of revenge these guys are so nice that you cant get into that zone. It’s all about being competitive on the field. They are one side that has set the right example for teams to carry themselves on the international stage. We were actually happy for them when they qualified for World Cup finals. When you have lost you have to look at the larger picture. So nothing about revenge.”
SERIES PREVIEW 👇
India are set to take on New Zealand in a five-match T20 International series within five days of completing a home ODI assignment against Australia. Kohli said the short turnaround is tough given the busy international calendar.
“It’s getting closer and closer to landing at the stadium straight. That how compressed the gap has become. This kind of traveling to a place that is seven and a half hours ahead of IST is difficult to adjust immediately. Hopefully, this will be taken into consideration in the future.”
“But this is the year of the World Cup and every t20 is important. So we can’t lose our focus.”
KL RAHUL TO CONTINUE
“In the ODIs, we will stick with Rajkot and let KL Rahul express himself at 5. In T20Is the dynamics change and let KL bat at the top. He’s doing well with gloves and that has given us more stability and we are looking to continue with him for a while.”
“I know there will be a lot of talk about what happens to other players but for us, it’s about what the team requires and the best balance of the side.”
On opener Shikhar Dhawan’s absence, the Indian captain said finding replacement was never a problem but identified one area which is a concern.
“In terms of maintaining continuity, it is a challenge for us. In the meantime, if you talk about replacements, we have a lot of players who are boasting of experience. I don’t see a problem of replacement but yes continuity is a problem.”
Kohli also said touring New Zealand is much less overwhelming than other cuntries as cricketers don’t seem to have a larger-than-life image here.
“Any New Zealand tour is much more relaxed. Every tour is a representation of how people look at the game in that region and in New Zealand the game is looked at as a job for the guys that play the game.
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