New Zealand in India 2012 August 20, 2012

McCullum to open in India Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

Brendon McCullum will return to the top of the order for New Zealand's Tests against India, set to open with Martin Guptill after playing at first drop during the past two series. Daniel Flynn, BJ Watling and Rob Nicol were all given a chance to partner Guptill during New Zealand's past two series, against South Africa and West Indies, but that won't be the case this time around.

"Martin Guptill and Brendon will open the innings," the New Zealand captain Ross Taylor told reporters in India after the squad touched down ahead of the first Test, starting in Hyderabad on Thursday. "Brendon batted well here on previous occasions and, hopefully, he will continue in the same vein in the upcoming Tests."

McCullum's highest Test score, 225, came on New Zealand's most recent Test tour of India, during the Hyderabad Test of 2010-11. McCullum and his team-mates don't have long to acclimatise to the conditions ahead of the first Test, but Taylor said the players were familiar enough with India that he was confident they could adjust quickly.

"We would certainly like to put some good plans in place and be positive about the way we look to play. India is a familiar place for a lot of us," he said. "We have played well here and are looking forward to the contest."

New Zealand are coming off a demoralising tour of the West Indies in which they lost the Tests and limited-overs legs comprehensively. They also lost 1-0 last time they visited India for Tests, but their bowlers at times left the Indian batting in positions of trouble, and their batting clicked, the highlights being McCullum's double-century and a debut hundred by Kane Williamson.

Harbhajan Singh rescued India from dicey positions in the series, scoring two centuries and a fifty. Taylor said the side would nevertheless take heart from that tour.

"We hadn't had bad memories the last time we played here. Brendon got 225. We had our opportunities but Harbhajan batted well and took the game away from us. However, it is a different time of the year, and hopefully, we will continue to play well."

Daniel Vettori, with 14 wickets, was the highest wicket-taker in the series. Taylor said his spinners would be keen to take advantage of the conditions. "They have a few spinners in their side and we don't play lot of spinners back home," he said. "It will be a good challenge and we are looking forward to put India under pressure."

He said India played well at home and his side would have to take that into account. "India is always tough in their home conditions. Whether they play north or down south they play very well. We should be careful about the reverse swing and the spinners. We have to learn quickly through the series."

The two-Test series will be followed by two T20Is in September as a prelude to the World T20.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gaurav on August 22, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Jesse Ryder has done well against India in the past,he would have been very useful for NZ as an opener.Most likely possibility is that pitches will be turning wickets but still NZ can upset India as they are without VVS and Dravid, so its their best chance to win in India this time.

  • Mathew on August 22, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    NZ always seemed to play with alot of pride. All they need is a few results to go their way and for confidence to pick up. Ind are a rebuilding side, should be a compelling series. I hope NZ can get a couple of draws out of these tests. Good test for Ind bowlers to who always seem to be under some kind of pressure.

  • Peter on August 21, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    I like playin rains team but would ideally get Jesse Ryder back. I sincerely hope they play Franklin, he can bat for days..... With Franklin there NZ will be able to score more than 400 regularly, that at least gives us a chance.

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Finally....... New Zealand make a great choice!!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2012, 1:18 GMT

    India is rebulding it could be close

  • michael on August 20, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    This tour will be a catastrophe for NZ. McCallum can't open and should the wicketkeeper at no 7 -he's just far too inconsistant. If Taylor doesn't start making consistanctly bigger scores, then his place should be in jeopardy. As the man said its very hard to be positive abt NZ, especially their batting.

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Poor strategy by an under-confident team management. McCullum as a test opener may work only in 1 out of 4 times. They need a right handed batsman at top who could leave Zaheer khan's deliveries - scoring should be strictly optional. Let McCullum come in at 1 down. That should allow him to score some runs while the ball is still hard but the shine is gone - under these conditions, he will have a much better chance to maximize his contributions to the bottom line.

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    A 2 Test series? What's the point?

  • Rajat on August 20, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    m interested in d series jss becoz to see how does this new Indian batting lineup fares. and talking about kiwis i thynk absence of ryder is a blow for them. but dont wrry kiwis. we have an awsum balling lineup. u will njoy playing them. wont b surprised if there are sum good batting performance from kiwi batsmen. coz indian balling rocks! indian ballers are very consistent. they will consistently give you balls which can be flicked oe smashed.. whatever. guys.. its a batsmen sereis.

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    I feel Brendon McCullum will not click this time around... Anyways best of luck to him... Considering whole New Zealand team, they are a mismatch for India in Indian conditions... Useless test series...

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