New Zealand aim to maintain T20 superiority
New Zealand have won all three Twenty20 matches they have played against India so far, but their captain Ross Taylor has said they wouldn't read too much into that record. New Zealand beat India in the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 and swept a two-match home series in 2009, though they are yet to play India in India.
"It's a record we all would like to keep," Taylor said on the eve of the first Twenty20 in Visakhapatnam. "But all those games were overseas - two at home and one in World Twenty20 in 2007. The Indian team play very well at home. They know the conditions well."
The two T20s against India are the last chance for New Zealand to test their squad for the World Twenty20. "A lot more cricket is coming up. Not only in the T20 series but the World Twenty20 too. Our World T20 campaign starts now. We are looking forward to how they do here before the World T20."
Two things will work in New Zealand's favour as they look to put behind a 2-0 Test series defeat: their squad is boosted by the arrival of a raft of experienced players, and several of their team members are well-acquainted with Indian pitches due to their stints in the IPL.
"New players bring in new energy," Taylor said. "We have some experienced players in the squad in [Jacob] Oram, [Daniel] Vettori, [Kyle] Mills who have played a lot of cricket in subcontinent. We would like to see how they go in the next couple of games and also in the World Twenty20 (in Sri Lanka).
"Knowing the Indian conditions, made it a bit easier than when we played earlier. But the flip side is they know our players a little better as well. We have plans to combat that."
Oram is one of the players joining the squad and he comes into the series after an outstanding Sri Lanka Premier League, where he starred with both bat and ball - he had an economy-rate of 3.82 and a strike-rate of 167.34 to propel Uva Next to the title. With New Zealand having beaten India at home in only one match across formats in the last 13 years, Oram is aware of the challenge ahead.
"We are here to win but whatever happens we have to make sure we learn from the series because it's great preparation," Oram said. "You are not going to get a tougher competition than playing India in India. Fifty-over champs but perennial T20 favourites as well."