New Zealand in India 2012-13 August 22, 2012

Martin places emphasis on swing

ESPNcricinfo staff

The previous time New Zealand toured India, they lost the three-match Test series 0-1. Among their bowlers who sent down ten overs or more in the series, none could manage an average of below 34 - in fact, only Chris Martin and Daniel Vettori (who is out of this series with injury) averaged below 56. If they are to be more effective this time round, it will be important to get the ball to swing for as long as possible, according to pace-spearhead Martin.

"If you can swing it for longer, with conventional swing, you feel in the game more," Martin said ahead of the first Test, which begins in Hyderabad on Thursday. "You feel - even through long periods of not getting a wicket - that you are still in the game."

Especially against the Indian batsmen, who are used to batsmen-friendly tracks, a bit of swing would come in very handy, Martin said. "I suppose against guys who are used to batting on flat wickets, perhaps not using their feet as much, the swinging ball is still a valuable thing to have.

"We are trying to get a pack mentality and a good set of plans going for each batsman. These are things you have to use on an ad-hoc kind of way in this part of the world, and be flexible. And the guys have enough skills to swing the ball and enough variety in the attack to feel competitive."

The conditions in Hyderabad, in the lead-up to the Test, have been encouraging, he said. "It [the pitch] had reasonable carry, a good batting surface but not your traditional Indian track. Enough bounce for us to challenge the edge. And it has been humid, not hot as normal but definitely cloudy. The ball has swung [in the nets], and I think it is a better one than the ball we used in the West Indies that tended to not swing for very long."

New Zealand are coming off a poor tour of the Caribbean, where they lost eight of nine matches, including both Tests. Martin was left out of the XI for the second Test, and that has raised his desire to do well, he said. "I'm always hungry and to get dropped, as a senior guy, is enough of a motivating factor to make you even hungrier. You either take it on your chin or run away with your tail between your legs. I'm not that kind of guy, so I am quite looking forward to preparing like I am getting another game."

New Zealand will not be intimidated by India, Martin said. "There are a lot of reputations on the other side we have to deal with. This young group doesn't care about that stuff: it showed in Hobart, and at various stages through their careers, that they get in the fight and they match you quite well.

"[Even on the 2010 tour] we competed pretty well. Generally, if you get the Indian side for a par score in their own conditions, you have done pretty well. And we were matching [India with] the bat up until the final game."

New Zealand had drawn the first two Tests in that series, after giving India a scare in the first, where it was left to Harbhajan Singh to dig India out of trouble in the second innings with a century. In the third though, two batting failures meant India won by an innings and took the series.

VVS Laxman, typically, had played a role in helping India save that second Test, scoring 91 in a crucial partnership with Harbhajan. Laxman and Rahul Dravid's absence - both having retired this year - could add a bit of pressure on India, Martin said. "I understand from past experience that when you lose people like that from your change room, you are looking around and trying to figure out [where the] your bulk of runs is going to come from. If you don't have a Laxman or a Dravid, I'm sure it will play on your mind a little, make the pressure on your own game a little bit tougher. The experience side of things is something they will lack."

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  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2012, 19:08 GMT

    @Flighted_kiwi: Agreed 100%.

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    with all due respect to martin he is the weakest bowler in his team.boult is the best in terms of taling wickets followed by southee and then would have been great if adam milne and andy mckay here and how can nzl not select jesse ryder ?? ryder has his best scores against india always but his addition shd have been a bigg boost fr them along with his medium pace and franklin deserves a spot in the team.boult and southee are just 22 if they play consistently well for next 3-4 yrs then nzl bowlers would be a force to reckon with.martin has tge worst stats out of the 4 bowlers he shd lead his pack with wickets and experience .

  • mayank on August 22, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    @Asadujzaman Shamim If that is the case then why bash India alone? Every team needs to learn from SA on how to play abroad. England themselves havent achieved anything outside their home(lol they cant even play well in Bangladesh). Neither have Australia,Pakistan,WI or SL. Atleast India never looses at home and didnt loose in England for 16 years. Last season was one off poor season. And by the way we drew 1-1 in South Africa last time we toured them ;)

  • Mark on August 22, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    Heck there are some touchy people out there. Chill guys. Why do so many Indian fans seem to feel like people are insulting them? Nowhere does Martin talk himself up or speak disrespectfully of India or the Indian team. He is doing what you would want any good bowler to do - analysing the situation and thinking about what advantage he and his side can gain. I'd be worried if he didn't. One thing is certain about Martin - whatever you think of his ability he would have one of the best work ethics in the NZ side, more in keeping with former NZ teams. You don't have to agree with his analysis but to take out of his comments that he is whining, still living in the past or doesn't respect the Indian side is to totally misread and misunderstand what he said and says more about you than it does about him. Here's hoping that we have a good contest - even if NZ have once again hobbled themselves by lack of practice games.

  • Ravi on August 22, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Why Indian wickets are always termed as flat tracks when the postitive result is 60% in the last five and half years? Out of 25 matches played, only 10 were drawn. In the same duration, in Eng and NZ the percentage is 72.5 and 63 respectively. This shows that Indian wickets are not always flat tracks else all the top opposition players would have averaged more than 50 here which is not the case.

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    This is a great opportunity for india to beat this toothless nz and claiming you are world best. surely it will wash away your 7-0 defeat at aus and eng.And after that, you will get another toothless team who are bad as hell at subcontinent. Great opportunity for you guys.

    try to learn something from SA.

  • Peter on August 22, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Well said ravikb, agree completely. So what, we won a test at Hobart, let's move on and stop talking up ourselves about the positives. The reality is dire and we desperately need to win some matches. End of story.

  • SRINIVASAN on August 22, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    dhoni is totally biased about picking players for the a recent interview he has said, sehwag,kohli and raina will be good slip cleraly means raina s a certainty in the squad. i dont like this really.

  • Conrad on August 22, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    Swing it all you like Chris....if you don't put it on target every ball, they'll just leave you, or smash your half least you get your seam right...there's a start. Once the swing is gone , try and take a leaf out of Ewan Chatfields book and get onto a nagging line and length. It's not going to be easy if the track is flat granted, so you'll have to stem the run flow and encourage their batsmen, whom will expect to put 320 runs a day, to loose patience. Bugger there's no Hadlee to put in a spell from the other end...Southee's due though lol.

  • Sanjay on August 22, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    I wonder how NZ, Aus, Eng call Indian wickets "flat tracks" and yet they cant win a single test here to save their lives. If we are to judge English or NZ test batsmen by the basis of how they performed in India, they are not even as good as domestic level batsmen in India. That's bizarre considering how wickets in India are so "flat".

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