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January 21, 2014
After taking four wickets to consign India to defeat in Napier, Mitchell McClenaghan has carried on with the same aggressive form off the field. Not only was McClenaghan at India with the ball, he was also in Rohit Sharma's face just before he hooked McClenaghan straight to long leg. McClenaghan said there wasn't going to be a let-up.
"These guys are good players but at no point are we going to back away from a fight," McClenaghan told Fairfax NZ News. "We're not going to be nice to them, we're going to get in their face and let them know that we're here and we're going to put our mark on the build-up to the World Cup."
McClenaghan's most crucial strike was when he came back to dismiss MS Dhoni with a sharp bouncer to trigger a collapse that brought New Zealand back into a match that was fast slipping out of their hands. He said the short ball was an important part of his plan against India.
"When they [India] go to Aussie they get bombed," McClenaghan said. "It's something we've got with our attack, we've got guys who can bowl good bouncers. We know there's a few of their guys who like to hook compulsively. It's about picking and choosing the times that we use it and the grounds we use it on because they all have different dimensions. We'll just have to be really smart about the lines we use it on."
Dhoni has spoken about the need to play the shots to the short balls because you can't keep leaving alone two balls per over. Virat Kohli, who negotiated the bouncer well in South Africa and in Napier, has said that it is important to at least get into positions to play the bouncer so that you watch the ball more closely, and leave them better should the need be. However, the bouncer always becomes an issue when India go out of Asia because some of the others are not as good at facing them.
McClenaghan said this series against India is massively important for them, not just because India are the No. 1 side in the world, but also because this is the World Cup year. "It's a huge series against one of the best sides in the world," McClenaghan said. "Leading into a World Cup in our backyard we want to have consistency. This is our best team that we can put out on the park. Hopefully we can let everyone know around the world that in our own backyard on our grounds and our decks, we're not to be taken lightly come 2015."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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