India in New Zealand 2013-14 February 1, 2014

Tight schedule demands that India move on quickly

33

Whoever draws up the Indian team's schedule must find it hard to differentiate between men and machines. MS Dhoni and his men have been given the luxury of a single day's break after the late-night finish to the ODI series on Friday, before they begin their sixth match in a fortnight - a two-day warm-up before the Tests.

On that rest day, they had to take a morning flight from Wellington to Auckland and then make a bus trip further north to Whangarei, to play a New Zealand XI composed of fringe domestic players and a few Under-19 ones.

Regardless of the quality of the opposition, India will feel fortunate the weather appears clear enough to allow the game to go ahead. On their previous trip to South Africa, their warm-up for the Tests was limited to practice sessions because rain wiped out the tour game in Benoni.

The new arrivals M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Wriddhiman Saha joined the rest of the squad two nights before the Wellington ODI. They will have had three days to acclimatise to this isolated part of the world ahead of the Whangarei match.

Whangarei is the northernmost of all the North Island venues this series and appears extremely calm and quiet, even by New Zealand standards. The Indians probably won't mind that at all. They have next to no time to forget the 0-4 drubbing in the one-dayers, to forget they have failed to win their last seven ODIs, and refocus their minds to the longest format. These surroundings will only help them.

Their opponents - the New Zealand XI - have been in the news only because of two high-profile pullouts that have robbed the side of whatever star quotient it had. Test openers Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford were picked initially to have a first look at the Indian attack in Whangarei. Just after the announcement Fulton, who was to have led the team, pulled out. He decided that a first-class Plunket Shield match was a far more intensive workout than a single-innings practice fixture. Rutherford followed suit, and promptly cracked 108 off 107 balls for Otago against Auckland at Eden Park's outer oval, adjacent to where the first Test will be played.

There are only four days until the start of the first Test. India will hope that time and the five fresh faces will be enough to overcome those four demoralising ODI losses.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • LokeshPradeep on February 2, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    Wonder why there is so much hatred towards dhoni and the fact that CSK players are given much more chances than others is this because of the fact that CSK has been the best team in IPL and come on this is international cricket why is IPL being dragged into question here? india have a lead spinner in ashwin and he is wicketless but who is there to replace him and raina was dropped many argue that he was given lot of chances just because he was a CSK player then just think of rohit sharma and the failures which he had earlier and he was not a csk player.Jadeja is maturing as a player and its time that we focus on cricket rather than blaming the skipper or a tournament.

  • on February 2, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    It is going to be tough for Team India to defend world cup, especially in 2015 (Aus, Nz), 2019 (Eng). As we can see, subcontinent (SL, IND) teams are a threat in the subcontinent. It the pitches in NZ and AUS, then to be on the bouncy side. My picks will be any from AUS or SA. 2019 is too far fetched. Playing in English conditions for IND has not been that great either. So again, a tough road ahead. Lucky to be in Semi-finals, I would say. Gamphir and Yuvi, do not have to feel bad, as the next time IND would be a touch crack is most likely 2013. By the time, most players there generations would be commentators :-)

  • on February 1, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    I have a lot more confidence for NZ in the tests now. But India must still be favourite. Hopefully they are shell shocked from the shallacking in the one dayers!

  • on February 1, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    its not the last SA and NZ tours,... overall Raohit is not a opener in ODIs Sehwag and Rohit comparison is like Elephant and rat...... Almost 99% of wins in ODis are given by first three batsman,,,, we dont have 1&2.. If youdont have openers just dhoni bat at 1

  • LondonNZ on February 1, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    India only have themselves to blame for cutting what was a full tour short. They're a popular team in NZ but wont remain that way if they keep shafting the fans to keep their own agenda. Same thing happened in the South African tour. Maybe some sweet justice they keep losing.

  • EashwarSai on February 1, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    The only point of this tour was to bring money to the cash strapped NZ board so that they will support the BCCI in the ICC table. That is also the reason India are going to be playing 5 tests in England in the summer. To get the ECB's support. It appears to have worked though, but at the expense of Indian fan.

  • androyuvi on February 1, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    We have good players of test in the order or Pujara, Virat, Vijay and Rahane. And other batters will revolve around them to give the enough impetus to pose some challenging totals. I am not sure about Rohit and Dhawan, who both will be the part of the playing XI, and who really are not going to contribute anything for the team. Even a certain Ashwin plays better than these two at away matches. Rohit, for all the buzz about his "talents", is a liability in the team.

    I don't even want to discuss about our bowling. Let us leave it to Zak & Co to do whatever they want to do!

    We should show some mettle atleast in tests. Hope these Three to Four new guys, will help in changing the team spirit.

  • Nampally on February 1, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Hopefully the 5 new players- Vijay, Pujara, Zaheer, Yadev & Saha will bring a new outlook for India. Saha never gets a chance to play in the XI because Dhoni is blocking his way. The other 4 should be in the XI- barring Dhoni's favourite, Ishant is kept out. Vijay & pujara will strengthen the batting whilst ZAK & Yadev will add to the pace attack. Pujara brings stability & a solid sheet anchor to the batting- so lacking in the ODI's. He is still the leader of the Test batting average of over 66 in 21 Tests.India never tried Mishra for the ODI's. He would have been worth trying to see whether he can change the mind set of the NZ batsmen. For a 5 day tests India would have been better to have a RH leg spinner like Mishra in the side. The newcomers will surprise the NZ side with some of the missing qualities if they settle down. Just a week of conditioning in NZ conditions is not adequate but the same guys who went straight into the SA Tests did very well. Better Luck in the Test series!

  • on February 1, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    India really have themselves to blame for this mess. You shorten down a series due to the fact you believe new zealand is a minnow. Then cram everything in together.

  • scarrule on February 1, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    All those who think pujara shuld be included in odi's. Rlly, as we all know he had a knee surgery last year. God forbid if he attains a injury again in odi's especially in death overs which require quick singles. Then i don't think i gonna forgive selectors. Moreover in odi he'll have to change his technique slightly which is not good coz he is by-far best test batsman india have produced after fab-4 nd kholi. Who cares about ODI series. After t20 nd IPL its a dying format. Pinnacle of cricket is still test nd we indians want our best batman in the team. Beware NZ.., if u think kholi is most talented batsman in our squad nd will create prblem then there another thing coming. Pujara will frustate ur bowler to extent that they won't attempt bouncers any-more against anyone.

  • LokeshPradeep on February 2, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    Wonder why there is so much hatred towards dhoni and the fact that CSK players are given much more chances than others is this because of the fact that CSK has been the best team in IPL and come on this is international cricket why is IPL being dragged into question here? india have a lead spinner in ashwin and he is wicketless but who is there to replace him and raina was dropped many argue that he was given lot of chances just because he was a CSK player then just think of rohit sharma and the failures which he had earlier and he was not a csk player.Jadeja is maturing as a player and its time that we focus on cricket rather than blaming the skipper or a tournament.

  • on February 2, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    It is going to be tough for Team India to defend world cup, especially in 2015 (Aus, Nz), 2019 (Eng). As we can see, subcontinent (SL, IND) teams are a threat in the subcontinent. It the pitches in NZ and AUS, then to be on the bouncy side. My picks will be any from AUS or SA. 2019 is too far fetched. Playing in English conditions for IND has not been that great either. So again, a tough road ahead. Lucky to be in Semi-finals, I would say. Gamphir and Yuvi, do not have to feel bad, as the next time IND would be a touch crack is most likely 2013. By the time, most players there generations would be commentators :-)

  • on February 1, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    I have a lot more confidence for NZ in the tests now. But India must still be favourite. Hopefully they are shell shocked from the shallacking in the one dayers!

  • on February 1, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    its not the last SA and NZ tours,... overall Raohit is not a opener in ODIs Sehwag and Rohit comparison is like Elephant and rat...... Almost 99% of wins in ODis are given by first three batsman,,,, we dont have 1&2.. If youdont have openers just dhoni bat at 1

  • LondonNZ on February 1, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    India only have themselves to blame for cutting what was a full tour short. They're a popular team in NZ but wont remain that way if they keep shafting the fans to keep their own agenda. Same thing happened in the South African tour. Maybe some sweet justice they keep losing.

  • EashwarSai on February 1, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    The only point of this tour was to bring money to the cash strapped NZ board so that they will support the BCCI in the ICC table. That is also the reason India are going to be playing 5 tests in England in the summer. To get the ECB's support. It appears to have worked though, but at the expense of Indian fan.

  • androyuvi on February 1, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    We have good players of test in the order or Pujara, Virat, Vijay and Rahane. And other batters will revolve around them to give the enough impetus to pose some challenging totals. I am not sure about Rohit and Dhawan, who both will be the part of the playing XI, and who really are not going to contribute anything for the team. Even a certain Ashwin plays better than these two at away matches. Rohit, for all the buzz about his "talents", is a liability in the team.

    I don't even want to discuss about our bowling. Let us leave it to Zak & Co to do whatever they want to do!

    We should show some mettle atleast in tests. Hope these Three to Four new guys, will help in changing the team spirit.

  • Nampally on February 1, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Hopefully the 5 new players- Vijay, Pujara, Zaheer, Yadev & Saha will bring a new outlook for India. Saha never gets a chance to play in the XI because Dhoni is blocking his way. The other 4 should be in the XI- barring Dhoni's favourite, Ishant is kept out. Vijay & pujara will strengthen the batting whilst ZAK & Yadev will add to the pace attack. Pujara brings stability & a solid sheet anchor to the batting- so lacking in the ODI's. He is still the leader of the Test batting average of over 66 in 21 Tests.India never tried Mishra for the ODI's. He would have been worth trying to see whether he can change the mind set of the NZ batsmen. For a 5 day tests India would have been better to have a RH leg spinner like Mishra in the side. The newcomers will surprise the NZ side with some of the missing qualities if they settle down. Just a week of conditioning in NZ conditions is not adequate but the same guys who went straight into the SA Tests did very well. Better Luck in the Test series!

  • on February 1, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    India really have themselves to blame for this mess. You shorten down a series due to the fact you believe new zealand is a minnow. Then cram everything in together.

  • scarrule on February 1, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    All those who think pujara shuld be included in odi's. Rlly, as we all know he had a knee surgery last year. God forbid if he attains a injury again in odi's especially in death overs which require quick singles. Then i don't think i gonna forgive selectors. Moreover in odi he'll have to change his technique slightly which is not good coz he is by-far best test batsman india have produced after fab-4 nd kholi. Who cares about ODI series. After t20 nd IPL its a dying format. Pinnacle of cricket is still test nd we indians want our best batman in the team. Beware NZ.., if u think kholi is most talented batsman in our squad nd will create prblem then there another thing coming. Pujara will frustate ur bowler to extent that they won't attempt bouncers any-more against anyone.

  • JashuDeep on February 1, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    Team India giving the chances to Raina Rohit Sharma and many others like Ashwin.But We forget te player wo gave us tw world cups ie YUVRAJ SINGH. Gautam Gamnhir performed well in domestic season and Harbhajan Singh too but no chance given to Both. Murli Vijay , Ishant Sharma till date has not given any performance still chances are given to them. In Team India YUVRAJ , HARBHAJAN and GAUTAM should be there.

  • on February 1, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    lost all faith in the think tank.if zaheer and pujara were sitting in the dressing room for the last odi why couldnt they play.it is absolutely clear to me that for any impact in the world cup '15 its only Zaheer who can make any difference for India.and in the batting department pujara HAS TO BE CONSIDERED.And for all those who say pujara is too slow.Please look at his strike rate between 50-150.damn team india needs changes.

  • geoffrey22 on February 1, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    So 2 NZ Players would rather play a First Class fixture instead of a Garbage 2 day game,why do countries continue to schedule rubbish matches over 2 days,can't they find 1 more day in the schedule to play a proper 3 day first class fixture.

  • Santhosh-Iyer on February 1, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    BTW what Mr. Rayudu will be doing being a part of Test squad ?? OMG!! an IPL star got Test ticket :) That reflects the selection and in turn the result we saw in ODI series...

  • jango_moh on February 1, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    i agree with @vj0786 ... some positives to come out of this odi loss for sure... this is still a young team with different players being given exposure, that way we will have a pool of players with exposure outside india.... having seen most of the games in SA and the current NZ series, i think we have the makings of a pretty decent unit.... they just need more exposure... even the bowling of buvi, shami and aron was not bad.... add to that umesh and zaheer(temporarily) and we shud have a decent bowling unit.... the problem i see is dhoni, he keeps using the subcontinent template on the fast pitches.... he needs to trust his fast bowlers and just have jadeja in the side.... encourage somebody like binny who could be useful in in the next WC!!!! all the best INDIA!!!!!

  • iceaxe on February 1, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    Try living the NZ schedule over 2013, travelling from country to country and you'll see the India tour of NZ really isn't that demanding.

    Really, a 1.5 hr flight, then a 3 hour bus ride. Enjoy the sights,... after all, your in a beautiful country!

  • on February 1, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    India's fault - they shortened the tour and dropped a test and a 2020 game - and wanted tour over mid feb rather than end of feb as normal

  • vj0786 on February 1, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    I think this series loss get some positives come out though...now they know the weak & strong points & Dhoni is an optimistic guy....I think bowlers like Aaron, Umesh & Bhuvi they all are very much talented...The only thing is that they need some time to improve their bowling overseas before the WC....Winning or Losing is a part of game and all teams whether it is India, SA, New zealand, Aus they all are playing for winning not for losing......Strong supporter of INDIA & proud to be an 'INDIAN'

  • on February 1, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    a suggestion to the change in lineup: Dhawan,Rohit,Kohli,Rayadu*,Dhoni,binny*,aswin,jadeja,bhuvaneswar,shami,ojha*

    * position should be changed on the basis of the pitch....if it is a spin dhoni can either go for ojha as i suggested or even take amit mishra or even piyush chawla...if he is looking for experience he must depend on Harbhajan.

    now on the other hand if it is a seamer friendly pitch he must use Ishant,umesh or stick on to binny..there are a lot of seamer ipl bowlers who india has not tested yet like rishi dhawan etc. i would not prefer aaron his ipl performace has not been upto the level of expectations.

    the case of rayadu being starred is different issue...rayadu lacks experience D karthick can be an exp replacement for him. In future this place may or may not hang on to Sanju samson...a budding cricketer.

    Raina cannot be dropped: he is an exp player..but he surely needs some rest now. i blv Dhoni is preparing his team for the WC..so he wldnt prefer to use ZAK & BHAJI

  • on February 1, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    Ban IPL and T20 once for all , play more tests and some 50 overs games, don't skip practice, participate in more Ranji and Duleep trophy matches. As our Late Tiger Pataudi used to tell quite often "as long as we prepare pitches to suit our bowlers, we'll always be victorious at home and failure abroad". Keeping this in mind always prepare a sportive wicket rather than "tailor made slow turner" to suit only our bowlers, these will definitely yield a better result. If you play more TESTS, standard of bowling, batting, and fielding will definitely improve. Test cricket too can be interesting, sometimes more thrilling to the last ball.

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    First we hav to sack the indian team coach nd bowling coach becas this two nothing has done abroad series lik england series, aus tour, SA tour nd NZ tour, wt thy done is disaster nd then giv strict warning to dhoni who is backing lot of bunnies in the team nd sack players lik Dhawan,Rohith,Raina,Rayudu,Jadeja nd ashwin this players only suitable to home batting conditions, Then sack ishanth and dont give any chance fr future becas he wil not suitable to international cricket,Then select players lik Pervez Rasool,Irfan pathan, Zaheer, pujara, Binny, umesh yadav, Dinesh karthik, Gambir, Sanju samson..

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    They will play well in Bangladesh and everything will be forgotten again. The side to which they lost to 4-0 (5), the Windies drew 2-2 to then, a month back (that too with a depleted WI unit). Indian cricket is all about hype.

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    I think, playing outside away from home is always difficult for any team and players.team's success depends upon how you adapt to the situations there.but pujara, virat and zaheer are main plus points for india for playing in test matches.and they proved in south africa.mainly pujara and virat showed a great techique and temperament in south africa.all the best indiaaaaaa!!!!!!!!

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    now give all the excuses for the losses.

  • mohanram82 on February 1, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    india should have their tight schedule overseas to improve there standars against swing and bouncy tracks.. need more hard work to win the WC 2015. so till that no ask for rest.. jus try try and deliver better.. all the best...!!!

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    This is inadequate preparation for a test series, and the kind of scheduling we will see more of as BCCI along with CA and ECB take over. They do not care about players acclimatising or resting only about what money they can make...It's no surprise the results are dismal, and the problems masked by playing some easy series at home to ensure some wins are recorded along the way.

  • mohanram82 on February 1, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    how long does indian team blame for tight schedules.. instead y cant make a long gap between the tours? does revenue of of BCCI will reduce?.. if yes then no reason to blame tight schedule..

  • vijaysrivatsan on February 1, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    We enjoyed when the team won a lot. Let's give them some time. Our bowlers have lost a lot of confidence. May be they just require one or 2 good performances before they start preforming.

    May be Dhoni should stop criticising bowlers openly in the media and presentation ceremonies. This will help bowlers confidence.

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:23 GMT

    So in other words the reason for the indian team failure is due to hectic tour scheduling?

  • greatshinwari on February 1, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    i am very to see india losing again outside asia...they must learn how to play on green and bouncy pitches then they arrange tours outside india...in the last 4 oversea tours india didn't beat the home team in a single game...wat a rubbish team....

  • Nava.G on February 1, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    I hope that MSD does not give travelling as an excuse for their dismal performance....

  • ThePacifist10 on February 1, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    Guys like Shami, Yadav and Pandey must be assessed in these Tests. Shami has lots of potential. I only hope he gets stronger despite his last performance, though I will admit the 3 maidens he bowled were superb. Hopefully he continues to improve..

  • ThePacifist10 on February 1, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    What with the Asia Cup, T20 World Cup, IPL, England and Australia tour and finally the World Cup on the horizon, India must be feeling the heat. This young team came together a year ago and had a lot of success. With a couple of tweaks and changes, they must break out of this losing streak, which I'm sure they will, and start winning overseas, sooner rather than later. We now have guys like Aaron, Pujara, Virat, MSD, Bhuvi, Dhawan and Rohit. They will learn and hopefully click in the upcoming Tests and win them. Good luck boys! Keep it tight for for another year!!

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  • ThePacifist10 on February 1, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    What with the Asia Cup, T20 World Cup, IPL, England and Australia tour and finally the World Cup on the horizon, India must be feeling the heat. This young team came together a year ago and had a lot of success. With a couple of tweaks and changes, they must break out of this losing streak, which I'm sure they will, and start winning overseas, sooner rather than later. We now have guys like Aaron, Pujara, Virat, MSD, Bhuvi, Dhawan and Rohit. They will learn and hopefully click in the upcoming Tests and win them. Good luck boys! Keep it tight for for another year!!

  • ThePacifist10 on February 1, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    Guys like Shami, Yadav and Pandey must be assessed in these Tests. Shami has lots of potential. I only hope he gets stronger despite his last performance, though I will admit the 3 maidens he bowled were superb. Hopefully he continues to improve..

  • Nava.G on February 1, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    I hope that MSD does not give travelling as an excuse for their dismal performance....

  • greatshinwari on February 1, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    i am very to see india losing again outside asia...they must learn how to play on green and bouncy pitches then they arrange tours outside india...in the last 4 oversea tours india didn't beat the home team in a single game...wat a rubbish team....

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:23 GMT

    So in other words the reason for the indian team failure is due to hectic tour scheduling?

  • vijaysrivatsan on February 1, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    We enjoyed when the team won a lot. Let's give them some time. Our bowlers have lost a lot of confidence. May be they just require one or 2 good performances before they start preforming.

    May be Dhoni should stop criticising bowlers openly in the media and presentation ceremonies. This will help bowlers confidence.

  • mohanram82 on February 1, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    how long does indian team blame for tight schedules.. instead y cant make a long gap between the tours? does revenue of of BCCI will reduce?.. if yes then no reason to blame tight schedule..

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    This is inadequate preparation for a test series, and the kind of scheduling we will see more of as BCCI along with CA and ECB take over. They do not care about players acclimatising or resting only about what money they can make...It's no surprise the results are dismal, and the problems masked by playing some easy series at home to ensure some wins are recorded along the way.

  • mohanram82 on February 1, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    india should have their tight schedule overseas to improve there standars against swing and bouncy tracks.. need more hard work to win the WC 2015. so till that no ask for rest.. jus try try and deliver better.. all the best...!!!

  • on February 1, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    now give all the excuses for the losses.