March 17, 2009

Leather hunt ahoy

New Zealand's bowling lacks penetration, and preparing seaming wickets won't be the ticket either
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To say the forthcoming Test series between India and New Zealand will be challenging for the home side would be a huge understatement. If everything plays out as suspected, it could be 15 long days of leather-chasing for the New Zealand players.

The word on the street is to expect flat batsman-friendly wickets - a knee-jerk reaction to the green ones the last time the Indians arrived. Ironically, back then the New Zealand bowlers possibly didn't need all the assistance they got from the surfaces, because they had Shane Bond, who was the standout bowler in the series and provided New Zealand with wicket-taking potential on all surfaces. This time round, the home team's bowling attack could very much do with all the assistance it can get from the pitches.

New Zealand's senior seam bowler this time will be Kyle Mills. Sure, he is ranked at No. 3 in the ICC ODI rankings, but in Tests he sits at a lowly 41. The highest-ranked seam bowlers for New Zealand in Test cricket right now are Chris Martin at 19 and James Franklin at 24. Martin has only just got back into any sort of favour with the selectors and Franklin has won selection as a batsman. The most effective seam bower in Test cricket for New Zealand of late has been Iain O'Brien, and his ranking, 27, leads you to conclude that penetration is not the strong point of the New Zealand Test team right now.

Daniel Vettori is their highest-ranked player, at 11, and if the wickets are as predicted then he will be crucial, but really, who do you give the edge to - Vettori versus the Indian batsmen or Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra versus the New Zealand batsmen? Vettori is a wonderful bowler but performances over time against the better Test nations have shown him to be consistent but not destructive.

Without doubt the major hurdle will be New Zealand's ability to take 20 wickets. In fact, if the tracks are flat then bowling India out once could be a major issue too.

So what to do? Well, the obvious is to turn the sprinklers on and leave a good coating of grass on the wickets. However, that may not suit New Zealand either. The average New Zealand batsman is not freaked out by a little sideways movement - he is used to it. But a bit of sideways coming from the likes of the evergreen Zaheer Khan and the ever-improving Ishant Sharma may be just as freaky to the local batsmen as the movement coming from Mills and Co is to the tourists. If it comes down to a fast-bowling shootout in hostile conditions then it may not be a case of advantage New Zealand but simply a lottery that no one can really win.

The average New Zealand batsman is not freaked out by a little sideways movement - he is used to it. But a bit of sideways coming from the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma may be just as freaky to the local batsmen as the movement coming from Mills and Co is to the tourists

New Zealand cricket fans have enjoyed the display of destructive hitting that has come from Indian blades during the ODIs, and possibly would not feel cheated should the likes of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman fill their boots in the Test matches. After all it is most likely the last we will see of the latter three in New Zealand. For that very reason these players may feel they owe New Zealand a few runs too, and they could be highly motivated to score heavily in a country where they have not done themselves justice in the past.

I can't actually see much to get excited about as a New Zealander eager for a victory for the home side. If there is anything I could hold on to as hope, it may just be what happened in Auckland in ODI five. The result of that match - India rolled for 149 - showed that the New Zealand seamers don't actually need an unfair amount of assistance from the wicket to come back into the game. All they need is enough movement to ensure the Indian players cannot simply stand and deliver; that they cannot just hit through the line, paying scant regard for length. The conditions asked them to show more process and more patience. Maybe it was the dead-rubber scenario, and maybe with Test results on the line the Indians will pay the conditions more respect, but it showed that there was wicket-taking potential in the New Zealanders when they get a skerrick of help and a vulnerable Indian tail, should they get to it.

Of the venues in use, Hamilton may offer some movement on day one but the others, Wellington and Napier, may only provide it for a session at most. Vettori had better hope for his usual luck at the toss, but inserting the Indian batsmen in conditions that don't scream bowler's paradise will be one heck of a big call. Even if it does look like there is some help for his seamers, he needs to think carefully about the scenario that says if you bowl first you bat last, and if you don't make use of the early movement then good luck playing out for a draw on the last day against Harbhajan and Mishra.

Yep, it's a heck of a big challenge for New Zealand this one, with very few avenues to find a strategic advantage, but would you expect anything different in a contest where No. 3 plays No. 8?

Former New Zealand opener Mark Richardson is now a television commentator and cricket columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Chetlur on | March 19, 2009, 12:32 GMT

    Mark Richardson seems to have some sort of hangup - why does he feel that the powers that be in New Zealand are so subservient to the "commands" of the BCCI? Time and again, his columns seem to say the same thing - there will be flat wickets because Indians want it that way. He would do well to remember some basic things. 1. Zaheer, Ishant, Munaf and Balaji are far more likely to run through the Kiwis than having the Kiwis cause trouble to the Indian lineup 2. In the last series (which Mark keeps harking back to), India won 2 matches and on both occassions, New Zealand batted first. Every match went in favour of the team bowling first. New Zealand did not do much better than India did in facing up to the movement that the seamers got. And that in home conditions.

  • POSTED BY cnandu on | March 19, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    Hey Mark

    Looks like seam movement and swing works both ways huh? It's not just Indian batsmen who have problems with swing and it's not just NZ bowlers who can swing eh?

    Remember what I said about swing and the Indian team's win in England?

    Iain seems to be more balanced in his views and all said and done, Kiwi bowlers have done a very good job in keeping the rate of scoring down. Getting Sehwag early always slows down the scoring

  • POSTED BY Shahzad_Tirmizi on | March 18, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    The Kiwis would have performed much better if they haven't banned their players who participated in ICL. At present all the Cricket Boards of the world are behaving like toys in the hand of Indian Cricket Board.

  • POSTED BY Criczloverz on | March 18, 2009, 1:43 GMT

    Already looking for excuses for your teams loss, like you did for the one dayers? . If pitches are batsman friendly they are not batsman fiendly for just one team they are for both. You just need to learn to give credit when it's due and admit that Indian team is far better prepared this time around than last time.

  • POSTED BY amish.joshi on | March 17, 2009, 23:10 GMT

    I believe India will win da series easily unless intervened by weather. The kind of pitches prepared will have no effect on da outcome. Starting off with da batting if wickets are flat, dey'll all blossom and even bhajji will fancy his chances of a test hundred, but if seaming wickets are prepared then we all know Dravid plays at his best den, Tendulkar in da series against australia showed he can also grind it out and Sehwag single-handedly won a test match in Sri Lanka last yr not even mentioning da otha 4.

    To the bowling now n most people seem to have forgotton that in India's last two series, despite being played at home, Zaheer and Ishant were man of the series, speaking volumes abt indian fast bowlers capabilities. Bhajji's a world class spinner n can win matches on any kind of pitches. NZ in contrast have only Vettori who can turn the game and in batting department dey have none.

    Having said dat cricket's a very unpredictable game n we shud wait n c as the action unfolds.

  • POSTED BY riced on | March 17, 2009, 21:39 GMT

    The flat wickets were prepared for the Indians. They had an unenjoyable time last time round and complained about the wickets being too green. The NZers know what side their bread is buttered on and if the Indians have a good and enjoyable time here they will look more kindly on NZ in the future. India is where all the money comes from for cricket, so keep the bosses happy and hope to reap some rewards in the future.

    Personally, a test wicket should have a bit of life in it on the first two sessions for the seamers, start flatteneing out over the next few days for the batsmen, then start taking turn on the final two days. That means there is something in it for everyone.

    But has anyone ever seen a green top in India??? You expect barren pitches over there, and as such you should expect green tops in NZ and England (and Aussie to a certain extent). That is what gives cricket variation.

  • POSTED BY AGNI_PURANA on | March 17, 2009, 20:25 GMT

    Include Shane Bond and prepare green wickets! India has NO CHANCE to win with just one change in the team!

  • POSTED BY rgom on | March 17, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    Mark Richardson is confused to put it mildly. Only recently, before the start of the 20/20 series, he said NZ board will dish out flat wickets to please the bosses at BCCI. Now he says that preparing pitches that assist seam and fast bowling won't help NZ either.

    He says that NZ bowlers did not need any help in 2002. I beg to differ. The fact that they went to the extent of spoiling the series with 2-day test matches lends credence to the belief that they needed help. Many people say that if you prepare such bouncy pitches, it is a lottery, meaning any team can win. Again not accurate! If only one team knows what kind of pitches to expect and has a couple of months to prepare, the result is a foregone conclusion. No team has practice playing in those alien conditions. So, if a team has a couple of months of practice, then the have the momentum they gain at the beginning of the series to carry them through. This time around I guess India is prepared for the lawns and nothingwill helpNZ

  • POSTED BY Bumpster on | March 17, 2009, 17:57 GMT

    Mark your articles change as many times as you change clothes it would seem

  • POSTED BY DeepPoint on | March 17, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    I am so tired of Mark Richardson and his insinuations that India can only make runs if the wickets are flat. Truth be told the last series in NZ was a complete lottery - where else have you heard of a team being bowled out for 99 and getting a first innings lead? And he talks about how NZ didnt need wickets to help them last time around - that is easy to say six years after the event! It is condescending for Richardson to insinuate that the wickets have to be helpful so that the Indians can 'fill their boots'. Quite conveniently he uses a single example of the 5th ODI to provide evidence that India cant play in bowling conditions. What rubbish. The only reason NZ didnt green up the wickets this time was because most of their batsmen need all the help they can get to make 50s!

  • POSTED BY Chetlur on | March 19, 2009, 12:32 GMT

    Mark Richardson seems to have some sort of hangup - why does he feel that the powers that be in New Zealand are so subservient to the "commands" of the BCCI? Time and again, his columns seem to say the same thing - there will be flat wickets because Indians want it that way. He would do well to remember some basic things. 1. Zaheer, Ishant, Munaf and Balaji are far more likely to run through the Kiwis than having the Kiwis cause trouble to the Indian lineup 2. In the last series (which Mark keeps harking back to), India won 2 matches and on both occassions, New Zealand batted first. Every match went in favour of the team bowling first. New Zealand did not do much better than India did in facing up to the movement that the seamers got. And that in home conditions.

  • POSTED BY cnandu on | March 19, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    Hey Mark

    Looks like seam movement and swing works both ways huh? It's not just Indian batsmen who have problems with swing and it's not just NZ bowlers who can swing eh?

    Remember what I said about swing and the Indian team's win in England?

    Iain seems to be more balanced in his views and all said and done, Kiwi bowlers have done a very good job in keeping the rate of scoring down. Getting Sehwag early always slows down the scoring

  • POSTED BY Shahzad_Tirmizi on | March 18, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    The Kiwis would have performed much better if they haven't banned their players who participated in ICL. At present all the Cricket Boards of the world are behaving like toys in the hand of Indian Cricket Board.

  • POSTED BY Criczloverz on | March 18, 2009, 1:43 GMT

    Already looking for excuses for your teams loss, like you did for the one dayers? . If pitches are batsman friendly they are not batsman fiendly for just one team they are for both. You just need to learn to give credit when it's due and admit that Indian team is far better prepared this time around than last time.

  • POSTED BY amish.joshi on | March 17, 2009, 23:10 GMT

    I believe India will win da series easily unless intervened by weather. The kind of pitches prepared will have no effect on da outcome. Starting off with da batting if wickets are flat, dey'll all blossom and even bhajji will fancy his chances of a test hundred, but if seaming wickets are prepared then we all know Dravid plays at his best den, Tendulkar in da series against australia showed he can also grind it out and Sehwag single-handedly won a test match in Sri Lanka last yr not even mentioning da otha 4.

    To the bowling now n most people seem to have forgotton that in India's last two series, despite being played at home, Zaheer and Ishant were man of the series, speaking volumes abt indian fast bowlers capabilities. Bhajji's a world class spinner n can win matches on any kind of pitches. NZ in contrast have only Vettori who can turn the game and in batting department dey have none.

    Having said dat cricket's a very unpredictable game n we shud wait n c as the action unfolds.

  • POSTED BY riced on | March 17, 2009, 21:39 GMT

    The flat wickets were prepared for the Indians. They had an unenjoyable time last time round and complained about the wickets being too green. The NZers know what side their bread is buttered on and if the Indians have a good and enjoyable time here they will look more kindly on NZ in the future. India is where all the money comes from for cricket, so keep the bosses happy and hope to reap some rewards in the future.

    Personally, a test wicket should have a bit of life in it on the first two sessions for the seamers, start flatteneing out over the next few days for the batsmen, then start taking turn on the final two days. That means there is something in it for everyone.

    But has anyone ever seen a green top in India??? You expect barren pitches over there, and as such you should expect green tops in NZ and England (and Aussie to a certain extent). That is what gives cricket variation.

  • POSTED BY AGNI_PURANA on | March 17, 2009, 20:25 GMT

    Include Shane Bond and prepare green wickets! India has NO CHANCE to win with just one change in the team!

  • POSTED BY rgom on | March 17, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    Mark Richardson is confused to put it mildly. Only recently, before the start of the 20/20 series, he said NZ board will dish out flat wickets to please the bosses at BCCI. Now he says that preparing pitches that assist seam and fast bowling won't help NZ either.

    He says that NZ bowlers did not need any help in 2002. I beg to differ. The fact that they went to the extent of spoiling the series with 2-day test matches lends credence to the belief that they needed help. Many people say that if you prepare such bouncy pitches, it is a lottery, meaning any team can win. Again not accurate! If only one team knows what kind of pitches to expect and has a couple of months to prepare, the result is a foregone conclusion. No team has practice playing in those alien conditions. So, if a team has a couple of months of practice, then the have the momentum they gain at the beginning of the series to carry them through. This time around I guess India is prepared for the lawns and nothingwill helpNZ

  • POSTED BY Bumpster on | March 17, 2009, 17:57 GMT

    Mark your articles change as many times as you change clothes it would seem

  • POSTED BY DeepPoint on | March 17, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    I am so tired of Mark Richardson and his insinuations that India can only make runs if the wickets are flat. Truth be told the last series in NZ was a complete lottery - where else have you heard of a team being bowled out for 99 and getting a first innings lead? And he talks about how NZ didnt need wickets to help them last time around - that is easy to say six years after the event! It is condescending for Richardson to insinuate that the wickets have to be helpful so that the Indians can 'fill their boots'. Quite conveniently he uses a single example of the 5th ODI to provide evidence that India cant play in bowling conditions. What rubbish. The only reason NZ didnt green up the wickets this time was because most of their batsmen need all the help they can get to make 50s!

  • POSTED BY Vasi_Sachchi on | March 17, 2009, 17:21 GMT

    It is accurate assesment by some that Ishant and Zaheer were not effective in the T20 or the one dayers but this is test cricket and Zaheer especially should be able to get reverse swing and sideways movement with the semi old ball. It is at this point both Indian seamers will be effective

  • POSTED BY hansrtk on | March 17, 2009, 16:54 GMT

    It will be wrong to say that Indian batsmen are not struggling against pace. They do so even now. Remember the 80 in Ahmedabad last year. In fact there is hardly any team which is not vulnerable in such conditions. Aussies with Taylor, Boon, and both Waughs were shot out for 128 and 105 in Port of Spain in 94-95 by Walsh and Ambrose. What happened to SA in SA and Aus in Aus recently everybody knows. It is no use if NZ also prepare flat pitches. They should prepare sporting wickets. Indian cricketers - if they are true cricketers - would also like to test their skills in difficult conditions instead of revisiting Indian pitches. There is no charm for test viewers for flat wickets. Every test viewer was watching SA-AUS matches instead of those being held in WI and PAK.

  • POSTED BY abhyu23 on | March 17, 2009, 15:36 GMT

    There is no need to get worried over the Indian pace attack. Zaheer and Ishant got thrashed in the odis and I wont be surprised if they remain as ineffective in the tests as well. Ishant seems to be more interested in his hair and abusing opposition batsmen than in his bowling. I am an Indian fan and predict that NZ will win 2-0.

  • POSTED BY Gareth_Griffis on | March 17, 2009, 15:34 GMT

    I didn't see any evidence of India's supposed "bowling superstars". The ODI series was won by India's amazing batting. The new ball bowlers are not dominating a young NZ side in the shorter form of the game (Guptill, Ryder, McCullum). For all the Indian teams talk about their new ball bowlers, I would be a lot more worried if we were facing Morkel, Ntini and Steyn (the true seamer's dream-team at the moment). I guess we will see if India's bowlers can turn in a better performance in the longer form of the game.

    This test series will be won by the better batting side. And as a Kiwi I will freely admit that that is easily India.

  • POSTED BY espsai on | March 17, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    Excellent article. Sets one to think. In the end, it is still not known what is in store? We will come to know only after the Test concludes after 5 days from now. But, in any case, it is a great piece written by Mark Richardson.

  • POSTED BY tomjs100 on | March 17, 2009, 15:05 GMT

    How NZ will be missing an opener of Richardson's class. Shame he retired at 33.

  • POSTED BY Front_Runner on | March 17, 2009, 13:40 GMT

    I wonder why only Ravi Shastri from India is on the commentary team. During the ODI series I noticed that most of the time it's Richardson/Ian Smith/Some NZ player.... and Ravi Shastri was the lone Indian on the panel. There was a time during the last one dayer when Praveen Kumar came into bat and the commentators had no idea of this player and commented that they were shocked to see the good shot he played. Atleast they should have done a bit of homework on the playing Eleven, Praveen is no Bradman but in domestic circuit he opened the batting for his state and is pretty handy with the bat. We get to learn more about new exciting players through the commentators and if they don't know what they are talking about then it's all chaos. I hope the commentators do a better job during the test series and introduce the new players on either side with some useful info, if not accurate. Tests are not action packed like ODI's, so the viewers will generally concentrate on commentary. Watch Out!!

  • POSTED BY LillianThomson on | March 17, 2009, 13:19 GMT

    The article ignores the fact that the best bowler on either side is fully fit, and available, but cannot be selected because the supine cowards who run New Zealand Cricket have taken it upon themselves to impose the ban on ICL players which the ICC quite reasonably has run a mile from associating itself with.

    Shane Bond has a No Objection Certifcate from NZ Cricket allowing him to play ICL yet has been treated like a criminal because he plays in the wrong Twenty20 circus - the one which gives every player a contract saying that international matches have priority.

    If India wins it will be a hollow victory because their internal affairs have robbed New Zealand of its best player.

  • POSTED BY kooldudee on | March 17, 2009, 11:29 GMT

    india start off favourites but its not gonna be easy to play in conditions that they are not accustomed to.Even india's bowlers zaheer and ishant were not all that effective in the ODI's and 20-20.so i reckon its gona be a series dominated by the bat unless very helpful green wickets are prepared but thats highly unlikely.In my opinion India should win the series 1-0(thats considering the fact that they play their best cricket).

  • POSTED BY Overdrive on | March 17, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    wow.. what a total contrast to the last cricinfo article by Richardson!

  • POSTED BY Siddharth_Pandit on | March 17, 2009, 10:55 GMT

    Fair analysis this time. But i still see NZ team bouncing back in test matches. Both the teams have even bowling attack in my opinion but India, on paper (everybody knows the reason why i wrote this here), has a better batting line up. Good fighting match expected. At least we won't hope for umpiring blunders this time after visiting southern hemisphere ;). Kiwis have good sporting spirit. Ohh God, I forgot, will have to wake up at 3 tomorrow :(.

  • POSTED BY vivekbharathi on | March 17, 2009, 10:25 GMT

    What happened to the 'flat pitches to please the BCCI' theory? I hope you give some credit to the current Indian team which is one of the best to have come to the NZ shores, be it the ODI or the Test team.

    Also, contrary to what you have mentioned about Indian batsmen owing some runs to NZ public - i wouldnt include Dravid in that list!!

  • POSTED BY kshitizv on | March 17, 2009, 10:14 GMT

    A balanced post this time. But at the same time I would agree with Saucykitten. It is true that when Indian team is doing well, we cannot listen anything, however little, against our team.

  • POSTED BY ChilliTiger on | March 17, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    It would be good to have a competitive wicket, some seam movement the first two sesssions, good carry and bounce the next 3 days and then a bit of spin later. Neither teams will complain with that type of a pitch. A bit for everyone involved.

  • POSTED BY Ind_cric_lover on | March 17, 2009, 9:53 GMT

    What is Newzealand's best chance of winning against this Indian line-up? Prepare a flat track and out bat them ;-) , prepare a dry - cracking pitch and hope vettori and patel run spin the indian's out or prepare a green track where their own batsmen will be up against the no-1 swing bowler and the new pace sensation. I think what they'll do is prepare a green track for the first test and base the next 2 pitches depending upon the outcome of tomorrow's match. After all they are better adept at playing the swinging and seaming ball than the indians. Whatever happens I am looking forward to the series which I believe would be more exciting than the ODI series.

  • POSTED BY Saucykitten on | March 17, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    Akshat, Vinodkd and Sap... give Mark a break. Before alluding to inconsistencies in his writing please read his previous opinion piece at Crickinfo - it's consistent with his NZ Herald article. New Zealand has a cricket team of modest means that fights hard and can perform on its day. With four million people, limited resources, and rugby being the dominant sport, we do alright. At present there happen to be some batsmen coming through who may give us a really decent team in a couple of years (if only we find another Bond to support them). I've found Mark's insights interesting and balanced. Some Indian team supporters on these boards appear over-sensitive and react aggressively when even a mild *perceived* slight or weakness is noted in their team. Mark's writing opinion pieces my friends - they're supposed to have an element of flare and subjectively. At the same time I've greatly enjoyed reading the warm, generous and balanced comments from the majority of Indian posters.

  • POSTED BY donthaveaclue on | March 17, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    Mark is essentially suggesting anything might happen and that's fair. One never knows which Indian batting lineup will turn up, the one that is, almost as a rule, circumspect and negative in their 1st test match of a series, or one that takes the attack to the bowlers. That said, NZ batsmen aren't half-bad from what we've seen in the ODIs, so its far from given that the Indian bowlers will take 20 wickets. I'd done a quick analysis of NZ bowling figures against India (http://outsideedge.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/the-last-frontier-of-underperformance/) and turns out that the likes of Simon Doull and Dion Nash have better figures than Michael Holding and Jeff Thompson.

  • POSTED BY the_blue_android on | March 17, 2009, 8:18 GMT

    Looks like BCCI has twisted Mr.Richardson's arm and forced him to write this article.

  • POSTED BY sap1979 on | March 17, 2009, 8:14 GMT

    well kelster no one is complaining or showing off. They all agree that the tests will be a completely different contest. However what is annoying is the comments made by Richardson. On NZ herald he says one thing and over here he makes a complete u turn. After reading them both its difficult to ascertain what exactly is he trying to convey or maybe that he is playing it safe.

  • POSTED BY rinspin on | March 17, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    I think this should be an excellent series and an oppurtunity for both teams to play high quality test cricket. It should be an even contest between bat and ball with each venue having different ground sizes and pitches and varying weather etc. We shall see sharma and martin firing them down, vettori,patel,harbhajan and mishra flighting and spinning the ball, sehwag and ryder smashing the ball everwhere and the like of flynn and dravid grafting it out. Should make for great viewing!!!

  • POSTED BY JGuru on | March 17, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    This is a dead lock scenario for Kiwis. If they prepare green tracks then there is every chance that Kiwis will get the taste of their own medicine. Ishant and Khan have the potential to rock any solid side, NZ is not an exception. On the other hand, flat tracks will prove to be a nightmare as Sehwag will come all guns blazing. With such class in batting ranks, India can hardly falter and lose the series. The chance of a NZ win is very unrealistic and they can feel victorius if they draw this series by some firm batting. 20 Indian wickets for NZ is more than an uphill task to achieve.

  • POSTED BY since7 on | March 17, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    Flat pitches are not at all going to help the kiwi's cause..Not only do the indians thrive on them but the newzealand batsmen wont last too long either since the indian bowlers can maximise the typical kiwi conditions to good effecr irrespective of the pitch..So,it would be better if they take a gamble and sprinkle more grass on the pitch.aTleast,that would give them a chance.The indians(or any team for that matter)havent proved their worth in "really" bowler friendly wickets as yet,so it would be intersting to see how they respond(especially yuvraj and gambhir)

  • POSTED BY kelster on | March 17, 2009, 7:24 GMT

    Get over yourselves, many of you are going on about how if the wickets are flat tracks then the outcome will only go one way. Sure India will fill there boots if that is the case because they have some great batsmen but good luck getting 20 wickets against NZ, they are at home and have a strong batting line up also!

  • POSTED BY vinodkd99 on | March 17, 2009, 6:29 GMT

    1. Mark, there is a lot of difference in words that you used in New Zealand Herald and the ones you are using here in Cricinfo. 2. My major concern in this series as far as India is concerned is the form of Dravid. Though he scored a hundred in a first class match for one of the provincial sides, but he is not the same batsman as he used to be 2/3 years back. 3. Most crucial wickets for you would be that of Sehwag and Sachin. Sachin can play long innings and Sehwag can turn the match in India's favour in a very short period of time.

  • POSTED BY cnandu on | March 17, 2009, 6:06 GMT

    Mark

    What happened? You are actually conceding that the Indian team is not bad and can put up a fight!

    I thought you would say 'I told you so' when India won the ODI 3-1! I thought you would say NZ prepared flat tracks to help the people with the money!

    Remember it doesn't swing more than in England in NZ and these same Indian bowlers out bowled the English ones. True Shane Bond would have made a huge difference.

    So whether the pitch is doctored to be flat, pacy or to help spin, NZ are not going to be totally advantaged. It is the team that plays good cricket consistently that will win and as long as you realise that, things will be fine

    Yes, Mark, looks like you have realised that it is cricket and no team is going to roll over just to please the bosses.

    I still think that NZ is one of the few teams who don't complain and perform really well as a team. Danny is one of the most sporting of captains!

  • POSTED BY HarishVS on | March 17, 2009, 4:52 GMT

    I think this time Mark has done a better analysis of the situation by leaving the guessing open. I think one can only wait and see what happens in the field. Because half the batting is to be done by a different set of batsmen than the one seen in one-dayers though Tendulkar played in 3 games. Sehwag is going to be more dangerous for Kiwis in Tests as he has been of late against any other opposition, whether Aussies or English or Bangladeshis. Dravid's form might prove decisive in countering the swing and movement, if any, to run big totals and put the hosts in a corner. The rest of the batting can play around him. If the pitches turn out to be flat, it does not require any research to guess the outcome...

  • POSTED BY Akshat14 on | March 17, 2009, 4:44 GMT

    Oh great, Mr Richardson! So you sing one tune in cricinfo and completely the opposite tune in the NZ Herald? You were basically accusing the NZC Board of fixing the matches and presenting the ODI series just as a gift to Indians to appease the 'mighty BCCI' and according to you it was time when the kiwis were done in the generosity and and hospitality and warning the Indians of the tough test ahead in your NZH column. And here in CI you are saying that kiwis are in for a leather chase. You think that the readers can take your views seriously if you say one thing somewhere and completely the opposite elsewhere?

  • POSTED BY HarishVS on | March 17, 2009, 4:42 GMT

    I think this time Mark has done a better analysis of the situation by leaving the guessing open. I think one can only wait and see what happens in the field. Because half the batting is to be done by a different set of batsmen than the one seen in one-dayers though Tendulkar played in 3 games. Sehwag is going to be more dangerous for Kiwis in Tests as he has been of late against any other opposition, whether Aussies or English or Bangladeshis. Dravid's form might prove decisive in countering the swing and movement, if any, to run big totals and put the hosts in a corner. The rest of the batting can play around him. If the pitches turn out to be flat, it does not require any research to guess the outcome...

  • POSTED BY riteshjsr on | March 17, 2009, 4:41 GMT

    Looks like Mark Richardson has sobered down after his explosive article before the start of the series which spawned a slew of spiteful comments, including one from me. Well, interesting dilemma for NZ. Should they prepare greentops or featherbeds? Let's compare the odds. On a featherbed NZ will not have any chance. This marauding Indian batting line-up will tear into NZ. Their best chance is in using the home advantage by preparing seaming wickets. This will ensure India does not run away with the Tests. Having said that Zaheer and Ishant will also test the NZ basmen with fiery pace and genuine swing. It is a double edged sword. Looks like NZ will opt for seaming wickets because that way at least they'll have a chance.

  • POSTED BY arvindcrico on | March 17, 2009, 3:58 GMT

    Over the years Indians are much improved against pace and bounce - you can hardly see Indian batsmen struggling against genuine pace (compared with dreadful memories of the past). Swing bowling probably has the best chance of upsetting this batting order. It is surprising why New Zealand would not want to take advantage of that. But having said that we have a very good pace pack which thrives on swing (genuine and reverse) - recall England tour ! So it is a interesting dilemma - but I still think things will not be as bleak as forecast - going by history. Would love to be proved wrong :-)

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  • POSTED BY arvindcrico on | March 17, 2009, 3:58 GMT

    Over the years Indians are much improved against pace and bounce - you can hardly see Indian batsmen struggling against genuine pace (compared with dreadful memories of the past). Swing bowling probably has the best chance of upsetting this batting order. It is surprising why New Zealand would not want to take advantage of that. But having said that we have a very good pace pack which thrives on swing (genuine and reverse) - recall England tour ! So it is a interesting dilemma - but I still think things will not be as bleak as forecast - going by history. Would love to be proved wrong :-)

  • POSTED BY riteshjsr on | March 17, 2009, 4:41 GMT

    Looks like Mark Richardson has sobered down after his explosive article before the start of the series which spawned a slew of spiteful comments, including one from me. Well, interesting dilemma for NZ. Should they prepare greentops or featherbeds? Let's compare the odds. On a featherbed NZ will not have any chance. This marauding Indian batting line-up will tear into NZ. Their best chance is in using the home advantage by preparing seaming wickets. This will ensure India does not run away with the Tests. Having said that Zaheer and Ishant will also test the NZ basmen with fiery pace and genuine swing. It is a double edged sword. Looks like NZ will opt for seaming wickets because that way at least they'll have a chance.

  • POSTED BY HarishVS on | March 17, 2009, 4:42 GMT

    I think this time Mark has done a better analysis of the situation by leaving the guessing open. I think one can only wait and see what happens in the field. Because half the batting is to be done by a different set of batsmen than the one seen in one-dayers though Tendulkar played in 3 games. Sehwag is going to be more dangerous for Kiwis in Tests as he has been of late against any other opposition, whether Aussies or English or Bangladeshis. Dravid's form might prove decisive in countering the swing and movement, if any, to run big totals and put the hosts in a corner. The rest of the batting can play around him. If the pitches turn out to be flat, it does not require any research to guess the outcome...

  • POSTED BY Akshat14 on | March 17, 2009, 4:44 GMT

    Oh great, Mr Richardson! So you sing one tune in cricinfo and completely the opposite tune in the NZ Herald? You were basically accusing the NZC Board of fixing the matches and presenting the ODI series just as a gift to Indians to appease the 'mighty BCCI' and according to you it was time when the kiwis were done in the generosity and and hospitality and warning the Indians of the tough test ahead in your NZH column. And here in CI you are saying that kiwis are in for a leather chase. You think that the readers can take your views seriously if you say one thing somewhere and completely the opposite elsewhere?

  • POSTED BY HarishVS on | March 17, 2009, 4:52 GMT

    I think this time Mark has done a better analysis of the situation by leaving the guessing open. I think one can only wait and see what happens in the field. Because half the batting is to be done by a different set of batsmen than the one seen in one-dayers though Tendulkar played in 3 games. Sehwag is going to be more dangerous for Kiwis in Tests as he has been of late against any other opposition, whether Aussies or English or Bangladeshis. Dravid's form might prove decisive in countering the swing and movement, if any, to run big totals and put the hosts in a corner. The rest of the batting can play around him. If the pitches turn out to be flat, it does not require any research to guess the outcome...

  • POSTED BY cnandu on | March 17, 2009, 6:06 GMT

    Mark

    What happened? You are actually conceding that the Indian team is not bad and can put up a fight!

    I thought you would say 'I told you so' when India won the ODI 3-1! I thought you would say NZ prepared flat tracks to help the people with the money!

    Remember it doesn't swing more than in England in NZ and these same Indian bowlers out bowled the English ones. True Shane Bond would have made a huge difference.

    So whether the pitch is doctored to be flat, pacy or to help spin, NZ are not going to be totally advantaged. It is the team that plays good cricket consistently that will win and as long as you realise that, things will be fine

    Yes, Mark, looks like you have realised that it is cricket and no team is going to roll over just to please the bosses.

    I still think that NZ is one of the few teams who don't complain and perform really well as a team. Danny is one of the most sporting of captains!

  • POSTED BY vinodkd99 on | March 17, 2009, 6:29 GMT

    1. Mark, there is a lot of difference in words that you used in New Zealand Herald and the ones you are using here in Cricinfo. 2. My major concern in this series as far as India is concerned is the form of Dravid. Though he scored a hundred in a first class match for one of the provincial sides, but he is not the same batsman as he used to be 2/3 years back. 3. Most crucial wickets for you would be that of Sehwag and Sachin. Sachin can play long innings and Sehwag can turn the match in India's favour in a very short period of time.

  • POSTED BY kelster on | March 17, 2009, 7:24 GMT

    Get over yourselves, many of you are going on about how if the wickets are flat tracks then the outcome will only go one way. Sure India will fill there boots if that is the case because they have some great batsmen but good luck getting 20 wickets against NZ, they are at home and have a strong batting line up also!

  • POSTED BY since7 on | March 17, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    Flat pitches are not at all going to help the kiwi's cause..Not only do the indians thrive on them but the newzealand batsmen wont last too long either since the indian bowlers can maximise the typical kiwi conditions to good effecr irrespective of the pitch..So,it would be better if they take a gamble and sprinkle more grass on the pitch.aTleast,that would give them a chance.The indians(or any team for that matter)havent proved their worth in "really" bowler friendly wickets as yet,so it would be intersting to see how they respond(especially yuvraj and gambhir)

  • POSTED BY JGuru on | March 17, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    This is a dead lock scenario for Kiwis. If they prepare green tracks then there is every chance that Kiwis will get the taste of their own medicine. Ishant and Khan have the potential to rock any solid side, NZ is not an exception. On the other hand, flat tracks will prove to be a nightmare as Sehwag will come all guns blazing. With such class in batting ranks, India can hardly falter and lose the series. The chance of a NZ win is very unrealistic and they can feel victorius if they draw this series by some firm batting. 20 Indian wickets for NZ is more than an uphill task to achieve.