India in New Zealand 2013-14 January 18, 2014

Dhoni satisfied with India's preparations

51

One luxury modern Indian cricketers usually do not have is warm-up games before an international tour begins. Five days of practice sessions at the sprawling Nelson Park is what India have had before the first ODI against New Zealand across the road at the compact McLean Park, and MS Dhoni sounded satisfied with his side's preparation.

"I think preparations have been good," Dhoni said after India's nets. "We were given very good facilities. The ground we were given opposite the stadium, we were given good pitches there. The practice wickets were almost like centre-wicket, so we had good practice. Net bowlers were also made available. So from the preparation point of view, it has been good. And we have looked into each and every aspect of not only batting and bowling, but fielding also, which will be very crucial. So most of the areas have been covered and we have had a few days to prepare."

The Pacific Ocean bore a sombre look under overcast skies last evening and this morning, although it didn't rain. But winds have been quite strong and persistent on most days, and Dhoni said that required plenty of adjustment in all disciplines. "When you are batting, you have to pick a side [where] you are looking to play more shots. There is always a risk. If it stays as it is, there is quite a strong breeze. The straight boundaries are quite long so if you are hitting there against the wind then there are chances that you have got another extra ten yards. All that makes it quite crucial. So you have to be intelligent about it, which areas you want to pick.

"With the bowling, especially bowling against the wind, it is slightly more demanding. It is an obstruction and you tend to get tired slightly quicker. Fielding also, the outfields seem quite slow, the grounds are not big, so you need to judge where to stand so batsmen don't steal doubles from you. All in all, reading conditions does help so you can adapt accordingly."

Dhoni expected the wind, as well as the pitch, to help the fast bowlers. "The wicket looks good, dry and hard, looks good for ODIs. Fast bowlers will get extra bounce. Intelligent bowlers may use the wind to their advantage, if you bowl in the right areas the ball may swing for a duration of time. Normally it stops after 10-15 overs, but here it may be prolonged a bit. Bowlers will have something from the wicket but once the batsmen get set they will love the pace and bounce."

Most of the India players in this squad have never played internationals in New Zealand before, and Dhoni said it would be good exposure ahead of the 2015 World Cup. India are scheduled to play two group games in Auckland and Hamilton, while New Zealand will also host a quarter-final and a semi-final.

"It will be good for the team because we will have players who have already played in those conditions and particularly at venues where you will be playing, so overall it will be a good tour for us."

A gulf separates the two teams as far as the ICC rankings go, but New Zealand are a "fantastic side", Dhoni said. "They have always been a side that is very contributive. They back each other. Fielding is something that is very important for them. They put a lot of emphasis on it and they have individuals who contribute in different ways - bat, ball - and they have got quite a few of them. So that really helps, in the shorter format especially. Whenever you see the big tournaments, they do very well, so they are a side that is very well respected. Fantastic individuals to play against."

In the absence of Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni also has to decide on whom to play at No. 4, but he wasn't ready to reveal much at this stage, only saying that India would not tinker too much. "We will see what suits us the best and then we will move ahead. As of now, after the Greg Chappell era, experimentation is something we have done away with. We don't really experiment anymore. We will give chances to a few players and hopefully they will rise up to the occasion and accept the challenges they are pushed into."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • wolf777 on January 19, 2014, 0:01 GMT

    Don't play two spinners in any of the games...Tests or ODI...just one spinner.

  • on January 18, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    I'm not exactly excited by the Caps chances, though the team is starting to unearth some real talent, but am anticipating watching the Indian team through the ODIs and especially the two tests.

    Thank you for touring India :)

  • antriksh_312 on January 18, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    Knowing that Indian team is visiting New Zealand....one cannot forget about Virender Sehwag and the blistering standout performances he had in NZ in our previous 2 series there, and that too against all the odds...esp in utterly forgetful late 2002- early 2003 series just before the WC 2003, where he scored 3 spectacular centuries when neither of our esteemed batsmen could stand the fury of Shane Bond and Co. on pitches tailor-made for pace, bounce and swing of extreme levels.... Really would have loved to see Sehwag in the Indian team and regain his lost form with a blitzkrieg here !!!!!

  • Vilander on January 18, 2014, 20:31 GMT

    Play Binny instead of Ashwin or jadeja and play Aaron instead of Ishant, and based on how Bhuv goes replace him with Ishwar pandey. Ishant must not get a game.

  • basusri133b on January 18, 2014, 19:28 GMT

    Rayudu & Binny should be given a chance to play in the ODI games. Team India should play 4 seamers and one spinner in all games ( Tests & ODIs). I think we are getting obsessed with the number 4 spot. This spot should be filled purely on merit. Some thing which is a very hard ask in Indian Cricket !!!

  • on January 18, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    Playing at foreign conditions won't b easy for India . We have already seen India having trouble playing in South Africa . India is so different when playing away from home

  • Nampally on January 18, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    India never had a proper #4 in either Raina or Yuvraj. Ideal choice would be Pujara - not a Dhoni Favourite. Alternate choice in this squad is Rahane, who is technically sound. So all this #4 debate is a futile one. Focus more on strategy, Tactics & XI selection. Dhoni says that the wind & Pitch will assist fast bowlers. Will India go with 4 seamers + 1 spinner or 3 seamers + 2 spinners & who these will be. India has Aaron- the quickest @145 KPH. He should be the #1 choice along with Shami. Other 2 seamers could be Ishant or Kumar. If 2 spinner option is taken go with Jadeja & Ashwin- both can bat better than Binny. So composition of XI is crucial factor. Once this is decided batsmen can be Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Rahane, Raina & Dhoni. Each of these 6 have to contribute in a big way for India to win. Patience, Discipline & strike rotation are key factors.Avoid Run outs at all costs. India has an excellent side & if they play to their potential they should win. Dhoni is the X-Factor!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 18, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    This series will be a good learning curve for the kiwi players in dealing with a top team like India. The question is not whether India will win but how well the Kiwis can limit the damage and stay away from massive defeats. India will win the series. But goodluck to Kiwis. They are nice blokes and I wouldn't be sad if such nice blokes can win a game or two against us. Goodluck to both teams.

  • Ronak2410 on January 18, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    May be its time to give Stuart Binny a chance.......might be worth a try !!!!!!!

  • tanstell87 on January 18, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    @GRVJPR - Raina & Ashwin have been out of form since long....but they still get in the 11...how? Raina played part in only 2 wins since World Cup 2011....a 60* against Sri Lanka in July 2012 & 80* against England last year in India...apart from those 2 innings he has not done anything...so it will be better if someone else is given an opportunity at number 5 spot...Rayudu or someone like Karthick or Uthappa who is a finisher in IPL can be useful at number 5 with Dhoni to follow...

    Ashwin is unplayable in India in tests on dustbowls...but he goes for plenty in ODIs in India - he was taken to cleaners by the Aussies in recent ODI series...the less we talk about Ashwin's ability overseas is better as he is mediocre...so why not give chance to other spinners as there are other states too that play Ranji Trophy & are far more better than an average spinner like Ashwin...

  • wolf777 on January 19, 2014, 0:01 GMT

    Don't play two spinners in any of the games...Tests or ODI...just one spinner.

  • on January 18, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    I'm not exactly excited by the Caps chances, though the team is starting to unearth some real talent, but am anticipating watching the Indian team through the ODIs and especially the two tests.

    Thank you for touring India :)

  • antriksh_312 on January 18, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    Knowing that Indian team is visiting New Zealand....one cannot forget about Virender Sehwag and the blistering standout performances he had in NZ in our previous 2 series there, and that too against all the odds...esp in utterly forgetful late 2002- early 2003 series just before the WC 2003, where he scored 3 spectacular centuries when neither of our esteemed batsmen could stand the fury of Shane Bond and Co. on pitches tailor-made for pace, bounce and swing of extreme levels.... Really would have loved to see Sehwag in the Indian team and regain his lost form with a blitzkrieg here !!!!!

  • Vilander on January 18, 2014, 20:31 GMT

    Play Binny instead of Ashwin or jadeja and play Aaron instead of Ishant, and based on how Bhuv goes replace him with Ishwar pandey. Ishant must not get a game.

  • basusri133b on January 18, 2014, 19:28 GMT

    Rayudu & Binny should be given a chance to play in the ODI games. Team India should play 4 seamers and one spinner in all games ( Tests & ODIs). I think we are getting obsessed with the number 4 spot. This spot should be filled purely on merit. Some thing which is a very hard ask in Indian Cricket !!!

  • on January 18, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    Playing at foreign conditions won't b easy for India . We have already seen India having trouble playing in South Africa . India is so different when playing away from home

  • Nampally on January 18, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    India never had a proper #4 in either Raina or Yuvraj. Ideal choice would be Pujara - not a Dhoni Favourite. Alternate choice in this squad is Rahane, who is technically sound. So all this #4 debate is a futile one. Focus more on strategy, Tactics & XI selection. Dhoni says that the wind & Pitch will assist fast bowlers. Will India go with 4 seamers + 1 spinner or 3 seamers + 2 spinners & who these will be. India has Aaron- the quickest @145 KPH. He should be the #1 choice along with Shami. Other 2 seamers could be Ishant or Kumar. If 2 spinner option is taken go with Jadeja & Ashwin- both can bat better than Binny. So composition of XI is crucial factor. Once this is decided batsmen can be Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Rahane, Raina & Dhoni. Each of these 6 have to contribute in a big way for India to win. Patience, Discipline & strike rotation are key factors.Avoid Run outs at all costs. India has an excellent side & if they play to their potential they should win. Dhoni is the X-Factor!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 18, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    This series will be a good learning curve for the kiwi players in dealing with a top team like India. The question is not whether India will win but how well the Kiwis can limit the damage and stay away from massive defeats. India will win the series. But goodluck to Kiwis. They are nice blokes and I wouldn't be sad if such nice blokes can win a game or two against us. Goodluck to both teams.

  • Ronak2410 on January 18, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    May be its time to give Stuart Binny a chance.......might be worth a try !!!!!!!

  • tanstell87 on January 18, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    @GRVJPR - Raina & Ashwin have been out of form since long....but they still get in the 11...how? Raina played part in only 2 wins since World Cup 2011....a 60* against Sri Lanka in July 2012 & 80* against England last year in India...apart from those 2 innings he has not done anything...so it will be better if someone else is given an opportunity at number 5 spot...Rayudu or someone like Karthick or Uthappa who is a finisher in IPL can be useful at number 5 with Dhoni to follow...

    Ashwin is unplayable in India in tests on dustbowls...but he goes for plenty in ODIs in India - he was taken to cleaners by the Aussies in recent ODI series...the less we talk about Ashwin's ability overseas is better as he is mediocre...so why not give chance to other spinners as there are other states too that play Ranji Trophy & are far more better than an average spinner like Ashwin...

  • on January 18, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    If Yuvi,Bhajji and Gauti are dropped because of lack of form...Why are Raina and Ashwin still doing in this side..ohh i forgot they play for same ipl team as captain does ...time to bring in Rayudu in place of listless Raina and Binny in place of hapless Ashwin

  • ajayasri1234 on January 18, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    india are gonna win and that is for sure they have good talented players

  • GRVJPR on January 18, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    @ tanstell87, and you should also be dropped from making such immature comments. Raina is good and will be in starting eleven, come what may. It;s not about who is good looking but who plays his heart out for team. RAINA the team man. Never played selfishly to boost his average,

  • GRVJPR on January 18, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    @PeterJerome, Praveen Amre played First class cricket in South africa for 3 seasosn and was highest run getter, so please update your cricketing knowledge before making funny comments and making yourslef a laughing stock here.

  • atuljain1969 on January 18, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    I would love if Dhoni gives full chance to both Varun and Umesh in these one dayers. If they can return it back to NZ , THEN IT WOULD BE GREAT FOR INDIAN CRICKET IN TIMES TO COME.

    We have never seen an Indian pace attack, putting fear into opposition with their sheer pace, this is the time and moment and Dhoni should not loose it.

  • PeterJerome on January 18, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    Raina has shown no improvement. But give Rohit/ Ashwin /Ishant some more time. Esp, overseas tours. Dear Raina, like ur attitude twds the game, but not ur execution. Spend on a better batting coach yaar, not Pravin Amre. The man himself knew nothing abt the SPS.

  • tanstell87 on January 18, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    for god's sake drop Raina how many more chances he has to get....if Yuvraj is dropped, Raina should have been dropped....play Rayudu in place of Raina & Binny in place of listless & mediocre Ashwin

  • on January 18, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    @hamza893 dude at this moment you team need more of ur prayers. ha ha!!!!

  • on January 18, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    @hamzah893 dude at this moment you team need u more of ur players. U can leave d further to God's hand

  • GRVJPR on January 18, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    Who cares about the picthes? Prepare as worst a pitch as you can, a bit like what south africa did. Still India will WIN!

  • GRVJPR on January 18, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    This should be experimentation series for India. If they win first 3 ODI's they should go with all out pace attack in next 2 matches and see which pacer impresses. In fact they can rotate pace bowlers from first match itself. Aron, Umesh should be told to ball as quickly as they can without worrying about economy and see if they can uproot the middle poles of few kiwis. I also want Umesh and Varon to target the head of kiwis. There should be kiwi blood on pitch to satisfy me and only then these westen people and Indian cricket analysts will stop talking about fast pitches. Also one complain from ICC for how long we will be forced to see boring series like pakistan vs sri lanka.

  • rajuramki on January 18, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    I don't know what wrong has Ashwin done for people to be after his blood . Afterall,he has proved himself in both Tests and One dayers,beyond doubt . Players can lose their form temporarily but quality players recover well and bounce back . In any case, when people can accept the mediocrity of players like Ishant and Zaheer ,they have no mouth to talk ill of other players. I'm sure Ashwin is smart enough to learn how to bowl on the Newzeland wickets and come out successfully . Best of luck , Team India.

  • on January 18, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    Dry pitches and small grounds can test Kiwis.. Best of luck my team.. :)

  • on January 18, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    best of luck men in blues......

  • TNAmarkFromIndia on January 18, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    If the pitch is "dry and hard" like Dhoni says, India is going to run away with this series. New Zealand pitches have shown that they can produce massive scores. As much as people are making a big deal about New Zealand's pitches and conditions, the Indian batsman felt right at home the last time they played there and smashed the New Zealanders to all parts. New Zealand's best chance is to produce green tops like they did in 2002.

  • on January 18, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    As long as Ashwin,Rohit,Raina and Ishant are in the indian squad for overseas tours,india can never win a single odi match,leave alone the series.This may sound bad for our indian fans but this is the bitter truth

  • ramli on January 18, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    He has dropped enough indications that Rayudus and Misra's get a chance to play ... at last ...

  • hamza893 on January 18, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    Best wishes for Kiwis from Pakistan,thrash them one handedly and show that NZ cricket produce legends like Astle,Hadlee,Fleming ,Vettori etc.

  • on January 18, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    go with four quicks. don't even think about ashwin.

  • Allanwilliams23 on January 18, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    All the best Team India Please Use 4 of your Quickest bowling attack ,can use Ashwin & Jadeja as allrounders .

  • chapathishot on January 18, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    @Udendra.Still cant get over the losses in World Cup Final,Tri Nations final West Indies,champions Trophy Semi final.New year forget it man and pray that more losses in WT20 and Asia cup will not make your grapes even more sour.

  • satchander on January 18, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    Fine don't experiment but give chances to ALL players at some point and not just few players like Jadeja, Ishant, Raina. Make sure Ishwar Pandey gets a game and Varun Aaraon plays few games as well.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 18, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    Best wishes boys. Show the Kiwis why we are the best in ODI cricket. Also, don't forget to enjoy the sights and sounds around NZ.

  • yuvi_gladiator on January 18, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    @Udendra absolutely right, and btw BCCi was responsible for both the world wars as well

  • on January 18, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    All the best team India

  • Cricmaths123 on January 18, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    In this new ODI world 300 is the old 250 and 350 is the old 300. NZ pitches are very good for batting so we expect to see a run feast. But they are also good for swing and seam movement and the weather is a big problem here. I expect both the teams to play extremely well and this will be a hard-fought series.

  • Iceman29 on January 18, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    u talk too much Mr. Dhoni....without practice matches we are going to sitting ducks there......we will see how well you prepared once the one day series starts...good luck...

  • Fast_Track_Bully on January 18, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    @ Calvin Palmer Warbah. Marked lot of words like yours ahead of every Indian tour. But unable to find the author for a comment after those tours! lol. c u after the tour

  • SanjivAwesome on January 18, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Ishant can shower in the morning and let the wind blow dry his hair in his run up. He only needs to think how to get wickets.

  • Udendra on January 18, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    In future you wouldnt want to bother with conditions, as your board is driving to establish a monopoly and non-relegation. That would save you of humiliation. Shame!

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    My Best Wishes r wid u Team in Blue.This tym u'll definitely do well & win d Series which will be Great beginning to a New Year........

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:51 GMT

    may be move rahane to open and rohith at 5

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    bowling will be key for india. many emphasised on zaheer and ishant but people will see how crucial they will be. india should go with both of them or atleast either of them along with other quickies.

  • Jalz007 on January 18, 2014, 5:35 GMT

    It's a great opportunity for the Indian side to get acclimatised to the conditions ahead of the world cup. It would be great if the core members of the current team plays the world cup to be staged in Australia & New Zealand. Perhaps, the results will be a indicator on the teams strengths & weakness against quality bowling in seaming conditions. All the very best to Team India. Hope they perform well in this series!!!

  • IndianInnerEdge on January 18, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    Well he has to say something, what would expect him to say?"v r here forthe scenery hope to compete in each game&hope our boys dont get toasted in each game???On the flip side-do India have the strength/variety/penetration in their attack to knock over 10 in odi's & 20 in testmatches albeit in helpful conditions? our spinners are ineffectual overseas & the less said the better about our pathetic pop gun pace attack....The way IShant is going, he is the team becoz of no other options, he would struggle to be in the BD or Zim 2nd XII, ZAK-forget him-a glorified off spinner with attitude to burn, i serioulsy hope this is his last series.Hope the BCCI makes Craig McDermott our bowling coach, look @ the way he has changed the oz attack, else Ishant is gonna be cannon fodder the world over. No probs with our batting which should come good, fielding should be ok and adequate with flashes of outstanding. The ODI's should be closely fought, really looking fwd to Adam milne, boult, and Yadav!!

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    Confidence is good bt overconfidence is bad..1st win the series then u talk about preperation..by d way all the best wishes 4 india in nz..

  • InsideHedge on January 18, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    This could be the series that defines our beloved Ishant. If he bowls AGAINST the wind (tough task), then the forces of nature may just blow that long, flowing hair out of his eyes, enabling our glorious spearhead to actually see where he's bowling.

    Either that or he could just get a haircut.

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    please no zaheer khan this he is good at giving advice to young bowlers thats his only job in these over seas tours. It was pathetic looking at him bowling at 120 ks even afridi bowls faster than him.

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    all the best to our india team and hope to steal the sereis

  • on January 18, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    If ishant and zaheer are picked in the playing eleven, I guess it's bye bye India and the series will read 5-0 against India. mark my words.

  • anniebansal on January 18, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    all the best team india

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • anniebansal on January 18, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    all the best team india

  • on January 18, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    If ishant and zaheer are picked in the playing eleven, I guess it's bye bye India and the series will read 5-0 against India. mark my words.

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    all the best to our india team and hope to steal the sereis

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    please no zaheer khan this he is good at giving advice to young bowlers thats his only job in these over seas tours. It was pathetic looking at him bowling at 120 ks even afridi bowls faster than him.

  • InsideHedge on January 18, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    This could be the series that defines our beloved Ishant. If he bowls AGAINST the wind (tough task), then the forces of nature may just blow that long, flowing hair out of his eyes, enabling our glorious spearhead to actually see where he's bowling.

    Either that or he could just get a haircut.

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    Confidence is good bt overconfidence is bad..1st win the series then u talk about preperation..by d way all the best wishes 4 india in nz..

  • IndianInnerEdge on January 18, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    Well he has to say something, what would expect him to say?"v r here forthe scenery hope to compete in each game&hope our boys dont get toasted in each game???On the flip side-do India have the strength/variety/penetration in their attack to knock over 10 in odi's & 20 in testmatches albeit in helpful conditions? our spinners are ineffectual overseas & the less said the better about our pathetic pop gun pace attack....The way IShant is going, he is the team becoz of no other options, he would struggle to be in the BD or Zim 2nd XII, ZAK-forget him-a glorified off spinner with attitude to burn, i serioulsy hope this is his last series.Hope the BCCI makes Craig McDermott our bowling coach, look @ the way he has changed the oz attack, else Ishant is gonna be cannon fodder the world over. No probs with our batting which should come good, fielding should be ok and adequate with flashes of outstanding. The ODI's should be closely fought, really looking fwd to Adam milne, boult, and Yadav!!

  • Jalz007 on January 18, 2014, 5:35 GMT

    It's a great opportunity for the Indian side to get acclimatised to the conditions ahead of the world cup. It would be great if the core members of the current team plays the world cup to be staged in Australia & New Zealand. Perhaps, the results will be a indicator on the teams strengths & weakness against quality bowling in seaming conditions. All the very best to Team India. Hope they perform well in this series!!!

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    bowling will be key for india. many emphasised on zaheer and ishant but people will see how crucial they will be. india should go with both of them or atleast either of them along with other quickies.

  • on January 18, 2014, 5:51 GMT

    may be move rahane to open and rohith at 5