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October 31, 2010
New Zealand, fresh from a dispiriting 4-0 one-day defeat in Bangladesh, have arrived in India for what is likely to be a far sterner examination. Daniel Vettori's side landed in Ahmedabad for a three-Test and five-ODI tour that begins on November 4 at Motera. It is their first bilateral visit since 2003.
New Zealand's tour of the subcontinent was planned as preparation for the World Cup that begins in February, but so far they have had a forgettable time on the field. They failed to make the final of the tri-series in Sri Lanka that also featured India, before being outplayed by an inspired Bangladesh side that made the most of home conditions, and the visitors' inability to come to terms with them.
The Bangladesh debacle was not received well back home, with New Zealand Cricket chairman Chris Moller terming the performance "very concerning". The board called an emergency meeting with Vettori and coach Mark Greatbatch to review the tour, and set up a specialised committee to audit the entire framework of cricket in New Zealand, "from the grassroots right through to the elite level." Greatbatch was scathing in his assessment of the tour, declaring that the team "played like d****".
The clean sweep in Bangladesh pushed New Zealand to seventh place in the ODI rankings, a sharp decline considering they were competing for second spot during the Sri Lanka tri-series in August. They will need a major lift if they are to compete with India, currently the top-ranked Test side and No. 2 in the ODI ratings.
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