New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland February 5, 2014

Bowlers give hosts edge in even contest

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Match facts

February 6-10, 2014
Start time 1100 local (2200 GMT, previous day)

Big Picture

At one of the more oddly shaped grounds in cricket begins what looks like a Test series between evenly matched sides. New Zealand were overwhelmingly the better side in the ODIs, but they will surely know it won't be easy to roll India over during the Tests. There is evidence of that in how India put up a fight in the Tests in South Africa after an ODI series that was even more horrible than the one in New Zealand. Also the hosts have a record to correct, that of having won only three home Tests - two against West Indies and one against Zimbabwe - since the start of 2011.

India have a statistic of their own to match. They haven't won any of their last 12 away Tests. They can draw inspiration from how well they played on the first four days of the Wanderers Test. The biggest difference from the ODIs will be that their batsmen will be able to allow a few short balls go through without the pressure of having to score at more than six an over. Four Indian batsmen showed they had the patience to keep respecting the good balls in South Africa; India will need more of that.

It won't be as easy for New Zealand quicks, good as they are, as it was in the ODIs. The onus, still, will be on Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Corey Anderson to take 20 wickets on what generally are true surfaces that don't break up, which shows in nine draws out of 12 matches since the start of 2011. Southee and Boult nearly delivered a win in Bangalore in 2012-13; they will want to go the whole way this time.

For Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara there are Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson. These are four batsmen as good as any for two batting sides to revolve around. It's the bowling where New Zealand score over India, but they will need the best of batting from batsmen other than Taylor and Williamson to make sure that advantage is not squandered.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)

New Zealand WWDDD
India LDWWW

In the spotlight

If there is to be a turnaround for India, you'd imagine Kohli will have a role to play. In South Africa, too, he was the first man to make India believe they could compete. It is not just the runs Kohli makes, it's his enforcer attitude that lifts the team up. Only when he can marshal the batting unit can India ponder the question of how to take 20 wickets.

Taylor will be New Zealand's enforcer. It is not about the pace of scoring, it is the underlying threat that he can take the game away.

Teams news

New Zealand have a pretty settled combination with Corey Anderson batting at No. 6 and wicketkeeper BJ Watling coming in at No. 7. They have resisted the temptation of playing four quicks, which means Doug Bracewell will sit out, making this a big match for the India-born legspinner Ish Sodhi, against some of the best players of spin.

New Zealand 1 Peter Fulton, 2 Hamish Rutherford, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt.), 6 Corey Anderson, 7 BJ Watling, 8 Tim Southee, 9. Neil Wagner, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Ish Sodhi

India won't be changing their top seven from the Durban Test unless they see a really flat pitch and play five bowlers with MS Dhoni batting at No. 6 and R Ashwin at 7. Don't hold your breath, though. Ravindra Jadeja should be rewarded with a place ahead of Ashwin, and Ishant Sharma should compete with Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the third seamer's slot. Ishant's height and pace might go for him, but Bhuvneshwar had a much better ODI series.

India 1 M Vijay, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Ajinkya Rahane, 7 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/ Ishant Sharma

Pitch and conditions

There is a bit of grass on the Eden Park pitch, McCullum said, but not enough to make New Zealand play four quicks. "Decent covering of grass," he said. "Funny-looking grass, too, at one end. Good hard surface. Expect more bounce than it had against England. A bit of pace in it as well. Don't expect a huge amount of movement sideways, but it might just be enough." India won all the tosses in the ODI series without much impact, but McCullum will do anything to win one here, because batting first will be difficult.

The weather forecast is not great with showers forecast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Stats and trivia

  • Three of Zaheer Khan's seven away five-fors have come in New Zealand.
  • No spinner other than Daniel Vettori has taken 50 wickets in New Zealand.
  • As was the case with South Africa's batsmen, India coach Duncan Fletcher has worked as a consultant with the New Zealand batsmen too.
  • Taylor, who reached the 4000-run mark during the series against West Indies, took 94 innings to get there, only one more than the fastest New Zealander to the mark, Martin Crowe.

Quotes

"Bowlers are going pretty good at the moment. They are bowling well in partnerships. They are getting the ball to swing in the air, they are also pretty hostile when they get the chance to bowl at the tail. The way our seamers have been operating has been one of the most pleasing aspects of our Test game this summer."
Brendon McCullum trusts his bowlers

"We have not capitalised when we had crucial situations in the game. If you talk about the last series we played [against South Africa], we had one bad session, two-and-a-half hours of bad cricket that we played. We have seen in this format, it can have a big impact on the game. It is important that when we are in a situation where we can dictate terms, it is very important we go through that phase and keep building on it."
MS Dhoni on India's recent Test performances

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Flighted_kiwi on | February 5, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    An interesting series that could go either way. Neither team is that stronger than the other. NZ have confidence & momentum while India is on a losing streak. That & hometown advantage makes NZ favourites, although India have a lot of supporters who are great. I suspect India has the best 'home town support' of any touring team in NZ. I don't agree that India has the better batting line-up. On present form, rather than reputation, I consider from 3-6 NZ to be at least as good if not stronger. Their weakness is the openers. I don't think Fulton and Rutherford deserved dropping but if they don't perform against India's bowling attack then their positions deserve to be reviewed. It does give India, tho, an opening and if they make early in-roads then it is game on. NZ are ahead with the bowling but I'm not sure how Bracewell retains his spot with 8 wkts @ 66.6 in 2013. Milne, Bennett & Henry are the future & one should have been in the squad even if not playing. NZ missed a trick there.

  • POSTED BY ShanNachimuthu on | February 5, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    Bowling will be deciding factor in this series. Though NZ's batting is not up to Indian batting strength the weak Indian bowling leveling the imbalance. In the past we had one or two strike spin bowlers to use the conditions of the pitch during 4th and 5th day of the match. But now we have spinners who are struggling to turn even during 4th and 5th day of the match. Surprisingly our pacers were not able get the amount of swing & reverse swing what they are getting in home matches. Now the countries like SA, NZ, and AUS are smart in preparing pitches which favors both their bowling and batting. They prepare pitches with only tinge of grass on it which is good enough for their bowlers to extract steep bounce using their height and power. While our bowlers bowling the tinge of grass carries the ball to the bat nicely and tracks seems batsman friendly. Also the same tinge of grass may be reason to minimize reverse swing of our bowlers. This is what happened is SA. So I expect 2-0 loss.

  • POSTED BY IndTheBest on | February 5, 2014, 21:55 GMT

    History repeats by itself. Dhoni won the toss 6th time, played Ishant as usual, only four bowlers in the team and next will lose the game. Sad story, I'd rather prefer to lose the toss and win a match. Someone needs to remind Dhoni that they are their to play game of cricket not to play coin/toss.

  • POSTED BY kiwicricketnut on | February 5, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    maybe your right Gagg but i do remember us picking another spinner pretty much fresh out of school with no first class record to speak of, picked solely on talent and strangely enough after taking a hammering early on in his career he went on to be our greastest spinner ever, no reason why sohdi can't follow the vettori blueprint some guys are just that talented.

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | February 5, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    Its tough time for team India. All the bowlers tried on foreign pitches so far have been disappointing. Even though fans clearly have their favorites but all of the bowlers are more or less of same stock. No tear away bowler or a warne or a murali is in their team. Heck India doesn't even have an ajmal. Most of the bowlers such as yadav, bhuvi, shami,, zaheer, ishant, mishra, ashwin, ojha jaddu are all tried and tested before with varying degree of mediocre success. Fans have been happy and unhappy with all of them at some point of time. Team management and Dhoni must be having hard time to pick one over another. While fans have their own favorites based on their personal opinions, Coaches and captain must be observing all of them in the nets. And I believe they are selecting best playing 11 on that basis. But the risk for them is that fans will always be unhappy if their choice of bowler or batsman is not selected. Its really tough to be coach and captain of team India.

  • POSTED BY JBNZ on | February 5, 2014, 21:11 GMT

    kiwicricketnut is close to the only one on here who makes any sense. Nathan McCullum's darts will never be any use in Test match cricket and we did alright out of the last untested spinner who got a decent, extended shot in the NZ side. Also, any suggestion that Milne (still injured, remember) or Bennett (only just back from injury, remember), who have both shown to be prone to injury from their high-impact actions should be playing Test cricket is ludicrous. Bracewell shouldn't be there, but those two aren't the answer right now.

  • POSTED BY crying_game on | February 5, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    India did win another home test against england- at Ahmedabad, since 2011.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 20:54 GMT

    The India overseas Test series should composed of a bowling attack which needs more pace/bounce than swing unless they are in England. Since the NZ side is weaker than SA and Australia they can like with that and can play swing of Zaheer, Bhuvi and Shami. This is a swing attack rather than pace and bounce.

    I would still prefer Yadav, Aaron and Shami because they are a weaker side compared to SA and Oz. Average pace for this is about 144 kph, for Yadav, 143 kph for Aaron and 136 kph for Shami. This the quickest ever in its since 1932 for India. Since Aaron is in India playing the Rest of India and Yadav on the bench it is a bit upsetting to miss Yadav and Aaron.

    After the WC win we have tried to incorporate the two fast bowlers in the Test side but the preference for Bhuvi is picked over Yadav and Aaron.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    u have gOt to b kiddin me...even thinkin about him ahead of yadav or perhaps pandey.i mean sharma is as docile a bowler as joginder sharma..might as well have him in d side given he would bat a bit as well.... i

  • POSTED BY StevieS on | February 5, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    Well I wouldn't select someone that has a first class bowling average of close to 50 thats for sure. Potential is not a reason to pick a test bowler. You learn how to play by playing first class cricket. How you can say he is our best spin bowler when he averages about 50 in every form of the game. McCullums comment was shocking, "the Indians may go after him and that could create chances", yeah I can also bowl pies! You pick your bowlers on wicket taking ability period! anSo we should pick 4 seamesr. Spin for spin sake is just crazy.

  • POSTED BY Flighted_kiwi on | February 5, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    An interesting series that could go either way. Neither team is that stronger than the other. NZ have confidence & momentum while India is on a losing streak. That & hometown advantage makes NZ favourites, although India have a lot of supporters who are great. I suspect India has the best 'home town support' of any touring team in NZ. I don't agree that India has the better batting line-up. On present form, rather than reputation, I consider from 3-6 NZ to be at least as good if not stronger. Their weakness is the openers. I don't think Fulton and Rutherford deserved dropping but if they don't perform against India's bowling attack then their positions deserve to be reviewed. It does give India, tho, an opening and if they make early in-roads then it is game on. NZ are ahead with the bowling but I'm not sure how Bracewell retains his spot with 8 wkts @ 66.6 in 2013. Milne, Bennett & Henry are the future & one should have been in the squad even if not playing. NZ missed a trick there.

  • POSTED BY ShanNachimuthu on | February 5, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    Bowling will be deciding factor in this series. Though NZ's batting is not up to Indian batting strength the weak Indian bowling leveling the imbalance. In the past we had one or two strike spin bowlers to use the conditions of the pitch during 4th and 5th day of the match. But now we have spinners who are struggling to turn even during 4th and 5th day of the match. Surprisingly our pacers were not able get the amount of swing & reverse swing what they are getting in home matches. Now the countries like SA, NZ, and AUS are smart in preparing pitches which favors both their bowling and batting. They prepare pitches with only tinge of grass on it which is good enough for their bowlers to extract steep bounce using their height and power. While our bowlers bowling the tinge of grass carries the ball to the bat nicely and tracks seems batsman friendly. Also the same tinge of grass may be reason to minimize reverse swing of our bowlers. This is what happened is SA. So I expect 2-0 loss.

  • POSTED BY IndTheBest on | February 5, 2014, 21:55 GMT

    History repeats by itself. Dhoni won the toss 6th time, played Ishant as usual, only four bowlers in the team and next will lose the game. Sad story, I'd rather prefer to lose the toss and win a match. Someone needs to remind Dhoni that they are their to play game of cricket not to play coin/toss.

  • POSTED BY kiwicricketnut on | February 5, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    maybe your right Gagg but i do remember us picking another spinner pretty much fresh out of school with no first class record to speak of, picked solely on talent and strangely enough after taking a hammering early on in his career he went on to be our greastest spinner ever, no reason why sohdi can't follow the vettori blueprint some guys are just that talented.

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | February 5, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    Its tough time for team India. All the bowlers tried on foreign pitches so far have been disappointing. Even though fans clearly have their favorites but all of the bowlers are more or less of same stock. No tear away bowler or a warne or a murali is in their team. Heck India doesn't even have an ajmal. Most of the bowlers such as yadav, bhuvi, shami,, zaheer, ishant, mishra, ashwin, ojha jaddu are all tried and tested before with varying degree of mediocre success. Fans have been happy and unhappy with all of them at some point of time. Team management and Dhoni must be having hard time to pick one over another. While fans have their own favorites based on their personal opinions, Coaches and captain must be observing all of them in the nets. And I believe they are selecting best playing 11 on that basis. But the risk for them is that fans will always be unhappy if their choice of bowler or batsman is not selected. Its really tough to be coach and captain of team India.

  • POSTED BY JBNZ on | February 5, 2014, 21:11 GMT

    kiwicricketnut is close to the only one on here who makes any sense. Nathan McCullum's darts will never be any use in Test match cricket and we did alright out of the last untested spinner who got a decent, extended shot in the NZ side. Also, any suggestion that Milne (still injured, remember) or Bennett (only just back from injury, remember), who have both shown to be prone to injury from their high-impact actions should be playing Test cricket is ludicrous. Bracewell shouldn't be there, but those two aren't the answer right now.

  • POSTED BY crying_game on | February 5, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    India did win another home test against england- at Ahmedabad, since 2011.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 20:54 GMT

    The India overseas Test series should composed of a bowling attack which needs more pace/bounce than swing unless they are in England. Since the NZ side is weaker than SA and Australia they can like with that and can play swing of Zaheer, Bhuvi and Shami. This is a swing attack rather than pace and bounce.

    I would still prefer Yadav, Aaron and Shami because they are a weaker side compared to SA and Oz. Average pace for this is about 144 kph, for Yadav, 143 kph for Aaron and 136 kph for Shami. This the quickest ever in its since 1932 for India. Since Aaron is in India playing the Rest of India and Yadav on the bench it is a bit upsetting to miss Yadav and Aaron.

    After the WC win we have tried to incorporate the two fast bowlers in the Test side but the preference for Bhuvi is picked over Yadav and Aaron.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    u have gOt to b kiddin me...even thinkin about him ahead of yadav or perhaps pandey.i mean sharma is as docile a bowler as joginder sharma..might as well have him in d side given he would bat a bit as well.... i

  • POSTED BY StevieS on | February 5, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    Well I wouldn't select someone that has a first class bowling average of close to 50 thats for sure. Potential is not a reason to pick a test bowler. You learn how to play by playing first class cricket. How you can say he is our best spin bowler when he averages about 50 in every form of the game. McCullums comment was shocking, "the Indians may go after him and that could create chances", yeah I can also bowl pies! You pick your bowlers on wicket taking ability period! anSo we should pick 4 seamesr. Spin for spin sake is just crazy.

  • POSTED BY BatBowlCatch on | February 5, 2014, 20:00 GMT

    If New Zealand can get the best out of their bowlers working as a pack then India won't stand a chance. Time for a good one from Brendon McCullum and the openers. NZ can't rely on Williamson and Taylor all the time. Don't know about Ish Sodhi. I don't think we should have a leggie just because we can. I think Nathan McCullum deserves a shot at Test level. Time for India's new breed to stand up on overseas conditions. Especially Dhawan and Pujara. Both so much promise but still not done a lot away from home. The pace attack ...... yeah! You need a reasonable pace attack in New Zealand and this is where India will fail. Dev, Srinath, Zaheer and now there is nobody leading the charge. Can't wait to get started. Fulton for a century.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    i seriously dont know why we are all going so gaga over Zaheer being in the team. Zaheer looked a pale shadow of himself of the past from the 2nd innings of the 1st test in South africa. Zaks, Ishant just didnt look like they could have picked up wickets. Batting in SA though was encouraging with the only chinx in the armour being SHikhar because he lacks technique. ROhit can be given the long rope because there is none better to replce him. My playing eleven if at all INdia wants to win: SHikhar, Murali V , Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Rohit, DHoni, Jadeja, Ishwar P, Shami, Yadav. Come on INDIA. and for god's sake , DHoni start making wise choices. Ishant and ZAheer a big NO , they cant even contain nor can pick up wickets.

  • POSTED BY a.syed81 on | February 5, 2014, 19:29 GMT

    Why don't Dhoni keep full time bowers ( Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma ) and drop a batter.

  • POSTED BY kiwicricketnut on | February 5, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    @ Gagg you seem like a pretty astute person with plenty of cricket knowledge but surely you wouldn't pick your team on first class stats alone, otherwise your test team would be filled with the likes of papps, redmond, arnel and jeetan patel, that would be horrible, sometimes with our shallow talent pool you have to take a punt and pick on talent, there might be spinners with better first class records but none of them can do what sohdi does with the ball, not only does he flight the ball he gets drift, can turn it both ways, granted hes not up to speed just yet but he is head and shoulders above anyone else in the country, i don't want to settle for another dart bowler no matter how good there stats are

  • POSTED BY jimmyvida on | February 5, 2014, 19:21 GMT

    India should play Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Dhoni, Misra and 5 "fast bowlers." This would please everyone in India.To me, the only bowler in India that looks like a fast bowler is Yadhav. Bhuvi should be putting the ball right up there to be driven. He is a swing bowler, isn't he? Where the heck is the bowling coach.

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | February 5, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    gauravm5 on (February 5, 2014, 17:10 GMT) Dhoni will continue to pick Ishant for India but I am sure Dhoni would not like to see Ishant donning CSK's yellow jersey. Well if that is true then Dhoni is not the one who is selecting Ishant in the Indian team, its some body else may be forcing his hands.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    weather will be main all rounder in this match

  • POSTED BY denkiller on | February 5, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    I expecting dhawan to come back in form and play like he did against oz, if india need to win they need good opening partnership

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | February 5, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    I think Rohit, Ishant and Ashwin should not be included. Bring Jadeja at number 5 position and also asa sole spinner. Include all pace bowlers you have this time and use them in small burst. It may help India perform better.

  • POSTED BY happy-go-lucky on | February 5, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    My team:

    Dhawan Vijay Pujara Kohli Rahane Dhoni Jadeja (Management should make it clear that he has to bat like a batsman) Zaheer Shami Yadav Pandey

    But I am sure Dhoni pick Ishant & Rohit instead of Pandey and Yadav.

  • POSTED BY PMadhavarao on | February 5, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    @shanmuthu . Great analysis . I totally agree with you 0-2.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Umesh Yadav and/or Ishwar Pandey please, if you care to win.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    what really amazes me is everyone is talking about ishant, pandey, shami and bhuvneshwar, but in reality, umesh yadav ia better than all of them in tests and still gets ignored. Hits good lengths, has pace, can swing the ball just enough in helpful conditions and has performed on every given chance in tests. In Aus, he was the only other player than Kohli to do something right. I agree he is not that great in ODI's but he is an asset in tests. But I am sure he will not get any chance on this tour... duhhh

  • POSTED BY HariVenks on | February 5, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    Ashwin needs more chances over seas..I think we should remeber last time when we won at NZ the pitch was fav. the spinners..even some of the ex-NZ players criticized that the pitch was in fav. of spinners n all that.....we cant really compare with the last time..I dont think we will get anything in fav. of spinners this time...but still we should looks who are the best 5 bowlers we have..surely Jadeja and Ashwin will be among the top 5 in this squad and we need to pick them...but I also think both of them played atleast one match more in ODIs...if not two matches...the truth is India need good spinners to win test matches any part of the world.....

  • POSTED BY pritpalpabla on | February 5, 2014, 18:36 GMT

    Thank god finally India will get rid of Ashwin in this match. India should give chance to Amit Mishra instead to Ravinder Jadeja. I agree Jadeja will give some depth to the batting order so can Mishra. NZ batting is not too good against leg spinners , yet India failed to give Mishra any game. Come on MSD, give this guy a chance.

  • POSTED BY bhushanB on | February 5, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    My take on IND TEST selection...

    No Ishant, Rohit, Raina Only one of Ashwin/Jadeja

    At least one different and wicket hungry pace bowler each subsequent test (fresh legs)

  • POSTED BY rajithwijepura on | February 5, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    get ready to witness another whitewash for India. Its getting bored now

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    A 1-0 win to NZ and for India I see Shami being their highest wicket taker.

  • POSTED BY Kapeel on | February 5, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    I think Ashwin is better batsman than Rohit, so better go with 5 batsman, Dhoni at 6, Ashwin at 7 and 4 pacers, in this way India will be going with 5 genuine bowlers and a batsman better than Rohit Sharma !

  • POSTED BY vish2020 on | February 5, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    Ishant??? Lost your mind.. What about pandey?

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    In an average game, you have 5 batsmen (guys who can bat), 5 bowlers (guys who can bowl) & 1 Wicket Keeper. Dhoni keeps telling the world India's bowling is weak & what does he do - replace 1 bowler with 1 batsman, pick at least 1 if not 2 bowlers not on their ability to get wickets, but score runs. Batsmen keep playing recklessly / stupidly, losing their wickets & getting no blame for the mess they make of team India - the bowlers get the brunt of the blame.

  • POSTED BY Raja.sh on | February 5, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    My playing 11 would be : M.Vijay, dhawan, pujara, kholi, ashwin,rahane,dhoni,jadeja,z.khan,ishwar,shami (Aswhin is better batsman than rohit in overseas) Dhoni don't show ur friendship to include both sharmas in team. Both are out of form and useless in overseas.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    If Dhoni does not include Pandey, and if Dhoni persists with Ishanth, only some super natural power should help India.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 17:53 GMT

    NZ has named a weak side.... IF Ryder, Guptill and Neesham were playing for Rutherford, Fulton and Wagner respectively.. we could score 40-200 runs more potentially.... especially with the Neesham switch.... I really hope we win.... but we have made it hard for ourselves with conservative selections. A lot rides on the toss now. We need to bowl first ideally...

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    As an Indian fan lets face facts. We just aren't half as good away as we are at home. Its always been a challenge for us to travel and it continues to be. While there are some good signs - some of the batsmen showing signs that they have the aptitude, attirude, ability and courage to take on the best bowlers in the world, theres a long way to go.

    The big issue for me is the bowling. I don't see the current crop of bowlers thinking as a group and working on batsmen together to build pressure.

    The Sri Lankan team continues to be a team we can draw inspiration from. A modest bowling lineup is made to look far better just because they bowl as a unit. Each player knows his role and no one bowlers tries to prove he is the one with the match balls.

    If Zak and co can find a way to do that they'll do Dhoni a huge favor. Don't forget- Steve Waugh was a great captain coz he had Warne, Mcgrath and a battery of others who stood up to be counted when it mattered.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | February 5, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    5 days of rain forecasted .

  • POSTED BY sixesandfours on | February 5, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    Dhoni give a chance to Pandey and he is a good prospect. Pandey is having hight, pace and bounce for his advantage and seems a good prospect for India. Keep faith on bowlers - groom Pandey, Yadav, Shami and Ishant. Let them have confidence that they can deliver. Do not keep focus on spin and Spin with Ashwin who is miserably failed in both ODIs and Tests. Bhuvi services no longer needed for India as he is lean and looks week and less pace. India have better paceman and physically stronger folks than Bhuvi.

    4 places for two tests - Trust in bowling line-up Jadeja, Zaheer, Pandey, Shami for first test and Jadeja, Pandey, Yadav, Ishant for second test. Make sure that bowlers have enough rest as the players will tied bowling 50+ overs in 5 days and immediate test is not a good option with same combination. Please do not make same mistakes of South Africa second test by keeping same 3 tired paceman of first test. So use bowlers wisely and sure they will perform for you. All the Best.

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | February 5, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    Zaheer & Ishant uh? Happy days for NZ batsmen.

  • POSTED BY gauravm5 on | February 5, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    Dhoni will continue to pick Ishant for India but I am sure Dhoni would not like to see Ishant donning CSK's yellow jersey.

  • POSTED BY aa61761 on | February 5, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    Tinge of grass does not effect swing bowling, swing happens in air before ball hits the ground, grass effects seam bowling and spin. If there is grass on the pitch then ball does not grip the pitch and turn, therefore, rendering spinners useless. India has there work cut out for them, three Indian pacers will not be enough to take 20 Kiwi wickets, lack of a decent fast bowling allrounder will heart India. On the other hand New Zealand is going with 4 pacers and a spinner.

  • POSTED BY Night.angel on | February 5, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    What is holding back Dhoni from dropping Ishant and Ashwin (overseas) from the test team?

    Even Sidharth Monga, how can you say this "Ishant's height and pace might go for him"

    Ishant avg's 44 in helpful conditions of overseas. Then, why, time and again, he is included because of his height.

    Well, ishwar pandey too have height and can extract bounce. Why can't you atleast support him?

  • POSTED BY cricket-is-passion on | February 5, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    @Raki99: totally agree your comment on spin dept. After Kumble and Bhajji India couldn't produce quality spinners apart Ashwin who is good on subcontinent. Mishra was in teh team given oppertunity now and then unlike other players. I would think give Misra a full series to boost his confidence but do not judge based on one match performance. I didnot notice any quality spinner in domestic cricket better than Ashwin, and also who can bat as well. Ofcourse end of day wicket taking is main duty so need a match winner spinner who can perform well outside of subcontinent like Kumble or Bhajji (in the past :) ).

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | February 5, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    Zak, Shami, Ishwar, Sir Jadeja, and Yadav should comprise India's fast bowling unit. Ashwin could not get a single wicket in the last test he played outside India, and Ishant's bowling is a joke. Dhoni selects himself as captain/WK. Murli, Pujara, Kohli, and Rahane are automatic choices due to their batting display in SA. That leaves only 1 spot - can be Dhawan or Nohit.

  • POSTED BY Coolcapricorn on | February 5, 2014, 16:34 GMT

    @nampally you got it spot on mate! Dhoni repeats the same mistakes in his bowling line-up in not just ODI's but in Test cricket too! We could have possibly won both Tests in SA but he then makes these selection mistakes or shows no confidence in his chosen seamers - like when choosing not to take the new ball at all on the 4th day of the Durban Test until he was embarrassingly forced to do so by the umpires, by which time the Test was lost. By choosing just three seamers, not only will they obviously have an increased workload but it is big risk as Zak could easily break down with his injury history or you could have one injured during the Test like what happened to Morkel in the 1st SA-Ind Jo'burg Test. Until he learns that he needs to adapt whilst playing abroad, we will continue getting drubbed or throwing away winning opportunities!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 16:32 GMT

    in india first preference is for csk only....time to change the system

  • POSTED BY Raki99 on | February 5, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    If India Lose this Series, Some body have to Pay for that, In My view that somebody is captain dhoni. He should be sacked as a captain becasue this would be the 4 straight away defeat in a row. Also as someboy said where are the good spinners? The cup board is really empty and that is the reason they included harbhajan in the Irani trophy. ashwin is a failure outside india and in no way comparable to Harbhajan.

  • POSTED BY Waves239 on | February 5, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    Small history of sample size 11 years( Post 2003 world cup ) about Indian fast bowling. They all come promising Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan and the list goes on and on! Mostly they depend on Swing rather than Pace. Once technically they have been worked out after spending couple of gold dust seasons at international arena, they search for new weapon called PACE. That is where these guys lose the discipline and eventually confidence. Amidst all this Indian bowlers are severe injury prone.

    This is TEST MATCH and WE want bowlers to pick up 20 wickets to win. Bowlers need to step up and be able to achieve some swing unlike ODIs.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 16:15 GMT

    @Mzm149 Millsy retired from tests in 2008. Mitch and nath are not good red ball bowlers. You'll see left and right handers swing in Trent and Tim and expect bouncers from Neil.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    india need bouncer player eventhough pandey had a good bouncing the ball hard give a chance to panday at place 11 no bhuvi nd ishant.... bhuvi swit only fr odi series in overseas . He's well nd good in home ground as well in all format of the game... so chance to pandey he picks up 3 in warm up game

  • POSTED BY Arun_Mathew on | February 5, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    i think India should play to their strength,, try scoring big and putting nz under pressure. India should go with Zaheer, Shami and Pandey as the three seamers. kohli can be used as a back-up option, jadeja should be our spinner, top 7 should be same as South Africa, ideally I would have liked to have a Gambhir opening for India. He was our star performer last time in tests in Newzealand batting for hours to draw the second test. Still I think we should play better than ODIs. The team needs a win desperately and a win could transform the entire team attitude. Come on India,

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | February 5, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    Why does cricinfo keep saying Team India did exceedingly well in SA. We lost 1-0 period. Centuries or 90's does not matter. We have focussed for too long on stats, wake up ..its all about winning! Until then Team India will be the most hated team in all forums.

  • POSTED BY ModernUmpiresPlz on | February 5, 2014, 15:31 GMT

    @Viru Spin, spin, spin, spin and spin. To answer your questions. We get annoyed at India because all they think about is spin. It's not even good spin with well flighted, drifting deliveries and extracting extra bounce. It's the push the ball through quickly because it'll still spin sideways on this dustbowl anyway even if I barely get revolutions on the ball kind of spin. Not great to watch. At least Swanny and Panesar beat you at your own game.

  • POSTED BY mzm149 on | February 5, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    Batting alone cannot win matches. Its the bowlers who take 20 wickets to win a test match. India has just three batsmen who can perform in overseas conditions. Indian bowling is not competent enough to take 20 wickets of New Zealand batsmen. I am sure India will extend its 9-0 drubbing to 10-0 or 11-0.

  • POSTED BY mzm149 on | February 5, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    I am wondering whether Boult, Wagner and Sodhi are that good that Mills, McClenaghan and McCullum have been sidelined.

  • POSTED BY wolf777 on | February 5, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    'Ishant's height and pace might go for him' Really? Ishant's pace? Really? I have faced better pace bowling in club cricket out here in western suburbs of Chicago. What is the need of 6 batsment? India has difficulties getting 20 wickets. Why not beef up the bowling department by adding an extra seamer. Drpo either Rahane or Nohit-Rohit. Two of them are not needed.

  • POSTED BY cricket-is-passion on | February 5, 2014, 14:54 GMT

    India definitely needs fast bowling all rounder like Kapil, M Prabhakar.I think current option would be rishi dhawan but I think it is too early to say him or include him in India A tours as a future prospect. Also as I been saying for a long time (though my voice doesn't count) include Pujara in ODI 11 and he can be like WALL and otherside can explode when needed. Now fans and team has high hopes on Pujara and will put lot of pressure on him like how team did to Kohli in ODI's. This has to change so Pujara have to be included. Another option I mentioned was try sending Jadeja as opener in shorter format and if he click then he will be a big asset, provides opton for additional fast/spin bowler/batsman.good luck atleast perform well now.This will be my playing 11. I prefer either Pandey/BK over Ishanth since IC P extract bounce but u never know. S Dhawan, M Vijay, CA Pujara, V Kohli, RG Sharma, MS Dhoni*†, RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, Z Khan, Mohammed Shami, IC Pandey/ B Kumar/I Shar

  • POSTED BY viru-319-219 on | February 5, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    @Sameed Qureshi .. What do you mean by flat track bullies?

    If Indian tracks are so flat .. Why did NZ batsmen fail when they came to India? .. Why did Aussies lose 4-0 in India? Why didn't SA batsmen except Amla score in India? Why did WI lose 2 tests in 6 days in India? and finally why were Swann and Panesar successful against our batsmen on so called flat tracks?

    Grow up mate ... you need to be god enough even to play on flat tracks against quality international bowling and a guy watching TV and commenting with grudge against Indians can't understand that. More importantly let me tell you, We prepare flat tracks for ODIs but not tests. Our tracks turn from day 1 and our players are very good at handling the turning ball. Playing spin requires better technique than playing pace and bounce. The problem our batsmen generally face is the extra bounce which we do not get in domestic tracks and It is hard for our batsmen to generally find middle of bat because of that

  • POSTED BY AamanSomani on | February 5, 2014, 14:50 GMT

    India has depended heavily on the spinners. But they too have not been quite successful overseas(Except for Ravindra Jadeja who got a six wicket haul in South Africa). So, its an opportunity for the pacers to step up to the challenge. India should leave Rahane who has been a little rusty in the ODI's and take four fast bowlers and Ravindra Jadeja as the lone spinner in the lineup. The four fast bowlers according to my view are Zaheer Khan(because his record in New Zealand is terrific) Mohammed Shami(because he is in excellent form) Umesh Yadav(very talented but not given enough opportunities) and i am little confused whether to Take Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Ishwar Pandey so that decision is to be taken by The skipper MS Dhoni.

  • POSTED BY atuljain1969 on | February 5, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    My playing eleven would be :

    1. Ishwar Pandey 2. Umesh Yadav 3. Zaheer Khan 4. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5. R Ashwin or R Jadeja 6. MS Dhoni 7. A Rahane 8. Virat Kohli 9. M Vijay 10. Shikhar Dhawan 11. A Rayuddu

    but I don't think Dhoni or the team management has the guts to do such thing. They will follow the same pattern as was seen earlier in England/ Australia / S.Africa and now in New Zeland. Wait till the disaster happens.

  • POSTED BY StevieS on | February 5, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    Kiwicricketnut if you think he is the best spin bowler then you need to change your user name except the nut part. there are at least 4 first class bowlers that have a better record than him. he hasn't proven himself at any level.

  • POSTED BY jerryman on | February 5, 2014, 14:36 GMT

    all the best to the NZ side . hope the wicket is pacy and India bats first . I think only Pujara & Kohli can play the short ball . To the others it will be a challenge . On strength - batting seems to be equal in both sides , bowling - NZ may have an edge and in fielding it will be NZ all the way. I think whoever bowls better will win this test.. If you are a star trek fan- "may the pace be with you "

  • POSTED BY sir.cricket on | February 5, 2014, 14:35 GMT

    India will do well. They just can't Pujara out. Like Dravid and Gavaskar, the tail starts after Pujara is out.. Well, not as long a a tail as in the Gavaskar days at least..

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    I dont know why you guys keep saying that Indians are the best players of spin, they could not get away Nathan McCullum and Kane Williamson in ODIs ? They have struggled against others also in recent times. So the team advantage is all the way with NZ as displayed better play against the spin of Ashwin and Jadeja . India will have to play the new bowlers that Dhoni has not used, Ishwar Pandey and repose faith in him. Its the faith that brings the best out of the batsman and the bowlers.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    Dhoni is slowly looking like he cannot even captain a school team. Dhoni thinks that he and his side is too good in batting to chase 300+ score every time, which is the reason why the whole batting unit and bowling unit is feeling tremendous pressure. There is nothing wrong with the bowling or batting department, Once a good captain comes in who knows how to handle the fast bowler and who knows how to attack with the spin option, who have some respect for experienced players like harbhajan singh, gautam gambhir and who knows how to set a field that will help the bowlers to pick up wickets and who does not command and force bowler to bowl in certain line and length but discuss with other player how he should set a field, this current team can win lot of matches for India. Currently players of indian team are not playing for india they are playing to proove dhoni is right thats why india is loosing matches. wake up selector and wake up self-proclaim captain cool.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    Dhoni please do not include Ishanth in the 11, as India lost last 11 out of 12 matches he was there in all that 12 matches India played in overseas and never won.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    there is no problem with the player captain has to change his strategy, bad captain and leaking runs , not able to put pressure is creating tremendous pressure on the team, rohit or VIrat will be terrific captain as both of them are team-man player

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    @shanmuthu nz batting not upto indian battimg strenght? What strength are you talking about ! Most of indian batsmen are flat track bullies

  • POSTED BY F-shahzi on | February 5, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    So how many CSk players will play this test Vijay,Jadeja,Ashwin,Dhoni and shami (they will buy him in this auction). on a serious note they have 2 good spinners Ojha and mishra, both not playing because they are not Dhoni's favourite. not to mention ishant lol.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | February 5, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    Dhoni is committing the same "blunders" in XI selection as he did in the SA series. You simply cannot play a 5 day Test with 4 bowlers - one of them ZAK is 35+! Dhoni refused to take the second new Ball at 80 over mark because he said his fast bowlers are "too tired". He drew or nearly lost an easily winnable first test vs. SA when he had "Tired bowlers" unable to take wkts. He has 3 other pace bowlers on bench in addition to 3 in the XI. Pandey maintained an excellent line, length & direction in a practice match + captured 3 wkts. When India needs wkt. takers, he will answer the need of the hour. Having both Rahane & Rohit Shjarma at the expense of a bowler is a disaster waiting to happen. A clever Cricketer learns from his mistakes & corrects himself.Sadly India is riddled with a Captain who does not understand Cricket. 90 overs/day shared by 4 bowlers is a tall order. What happens if one of them is injured- which is" highly likely"? Timely Reality Never seems to enter Dhoni's head!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | February 5, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    First test is almost a rain out draw. Get on the betting odds if you haven't. Weather forecast is baaaaad. This is going to be a two day practice match sorry folks

  • POSTED BY Cricmaths123 on | February 5, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    My Indian team for the match:1. Rahane 2. Vijay/Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. Kohli 5. R. Sharma 6. Dhoni 7. Jadeja 8. Ashwin/Pandey 9. Z. Khan 10. Bhuvi Kumar 11. M. Shami

  • POSTED BY imtiazjaleel on | February 5, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Everybody is giving the example of SA, since it was the first test and SA were slight complacent and India showed some more patience around the offstump. The SA'cans thought Indians will get out fishing, but they abstain from doing so. Moreover, the major factor also was the absence of Morne Morkel nobody is talking about it.

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | February 5, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    Dhoni - You play Ishant and Ashwin, you lose. Simple as that.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    If I could pick a team, it would be...

    Vijay, Rohit, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Rayudu, Jadeja, Zaheer, Shami, Ishwar....

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    Every one bashing Ishant, Ashwin. But Ishant is the most hard worker.... in the team. Atleast hope that he will correct his mistakes and make a come back....

  • POSTED BY ButchiReddy_TimmaReddy on | February 5, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    Rahane should open the innings with Vijay in place of Dhavan who is strugling on green pitches. And Pandey have to play in place of Ashwin as 4th pacer with Zak, Shami and Umesh. My Team.. Vijay,Rahane,Pujara,Kohli,roHIT,MSD,Sir J, Pandey, Zak,Umesh,Shami

  • POSTED BY yogicoolboy on | February 5, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    My team for 1st test match. Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Rahane, jADEJA/ aSHWIN, Dhoni, Zaheer, Shami, Ishwar pandey

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    India will only win the toss in tests against NZ....

  • POSTED BY dayada on | February 5, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    i think india highly depend on pujara than kohli in this format. kohli is average player in test cricket...........

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    Some guys are day dreaming. They must be not knowing who Dale Steyn is. For their education they must study the bowling data of both Steyn and Umesh. The comparison should be on the number of match Umesh played and his analysis compared to the same number of matches Steyn played at the start of his career. You will then be able to see. You cannot become Steyn or Tendulkar overnight in few matches. You will have to put in hard work away from matches and show that you should be an automatic choice for the Indian Team. We learn of bowlers who practice by bowling at one stump for most of a day. Any Indian bowler can match that now ?? Varun and Umesh - you should practice hard and secure the rightful place in the Indian team for you are young and the timeis on your side.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    Ashwin is wicket less in his last 42.2 test overs. And in overseas he is wicket less in his last 56.2 test overs.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    Come on India ... I.Pandey should play 2mrw's match ... My playing xl : 1. Dhawan 2. vijay 3.Pujara 4.Kohli 5.rahanae 6.Dhoni 7.rohit 8.Aswin 9.Zak 10. shami 11. Pandey

  • POSTED BY Coolcapricorn on | February 5, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    Please NOT Ishant & Bhuvi is a ODI bowler at best, so not him too. If we are serious about winning the Test series & we don't have the luxury of a pace bowling all-rounder like NZ & many other teams do, we need to have four pace bowlers in the team - even if it means having one less batsmen. However I sadly can't see this happening & probably Yadav & Pandey will just be warming the bench in both Tests in the series.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    I'm not sure why our fast bowlers are not able to succeed even in bowling friendly conditions. High time we have a very good bowling coach and green top wickets in India

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    @Shane Bond, yes I take some of that back. Hadn't watched much MZ cricket, or Taylor for that matter , but you are right . He's there with Virat Kohli. I guess, it's more to do with how much the latter is praised and hyped. On fact, take this site (cricinfo) for instance, there's so many more articles about Kohli than Taylor and Williamson.

    PS...cudnt believe first that it was in fact Shane Bond himself commenting here. Respect. Goes on to show you are a true fan of the game.

  • POSTED BY SOHEALPTEN on | February 5, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    Listening to Aakash Chopra, where he was telling how (WEAK) Captains try to pick team which will make them show outstanding. (i.e. in worldcup with Ganguly's captaincy Ganguly was in bad form wining the TOSS still choose to fiend becoz he dont wanted himself to face Australian QUICK bowlers on fresh pitch which resulted in India loosing that FINAL MATCH.)Here too Dhoni is adapting the same tactics by always picking players in the Team who perform average or less then what Dhoni performs, becoz by the end of the game/match he can go to press conference and put all blame on others and become an outstanding player among all. That is why- # Rohit (So called Talented)Highly Rated Low performance, STILL IN THE TEAM #Raina (So called Youngster) Many Crickets end their career playing as many matches as Raina got but still waiting to see if he performs. # Ashwin (Average Bowler/Good Batsman) i believe if still Dhoni wants Ashwin to play in the team he should be given job of 4/5or 6 number bats

  • POSTED BY SydneyIndi on | February 5, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    2Rags57. I agree with you. Sidharth's says "Ishant's height and pace might go for him, but.."! I am sorry, why some of these writers don't see (or don't want to see?) his performance in the last 3 years? Ishanth has clearly lost it now. He really needs to be dropped from the team / take a break for an year or so and come back stronger if he can. Right now he has no pace and no swing. We must play Yadav & Shami and give them all support they need, they are fast and wing the ball. Also why Aaron is not in the squad? He should have been instead of Ishanth. We always whinge that we don't have express fast bowlers but we don't use them when they are there. I.e. Yadav & Aaron. Fans have repeatedly pointed out the lack of logic in selection but the team management still persists with non- performers. In my view there is an inherent conflict of interest in captain being selector. The tendency is to look aftter self interests. We need to avoid this. Selectors+coach must always select the XI.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | February 5, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    In cricket Rohith got more chance than anyone his lazy technique is giving us nightmars, Rahane,pujara nd Kholi has better technique then rohith and he played only in indian pitches he failed to score abroad he cant play new ball nd old ball so wt is the use of Rohith, he is purely Ipl product..

  • POSTED BY Hummingbird0 on | February 5, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    Looks like most fans know what is the real problem with Indian bowling attack. Its Ishant. But clueless captain hasn't opened his eyes yet. Emotions are running high drop Ishant. Otherwise days are not that long, people will ask you to retire.

    Selectors, atleast you guys drop Ishant. So captain cool can't select him anymore

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    Oh no ..no ishant again n again n again..please bring umesh yadav if he is flow he reminds dale steyn.. Out swingers at 145+..remember series in Australia.. He was lone warrior.. He is better test bowler than shami also

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | February 5, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    Dhoni do two things dont include ashwin,Rohith nd ishanth another is include four pacers zaheer,pandey,umesh nd shami, Include Jadeja as a spinner..

  • POSTED BY ThePacifist10 on | February 5, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    @shanmuthu

    I'm predicting 1-0 to India. That is possible if Pandey gets a debut and Shami clicks. If neither happens and Ishant plays, then I agree with your prediction.

  • POSTED BY naren1983 on | February 5, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    There should be one change in the Indian XI. Neither Bhuvi nor Ishant is deserved to play this test, bring Ishwar Pandey, he is a fresh attack and NZ weren't aware of his attack and especially conditions will help him. In batting, we should fix with 7 players and Jadeja at No.8. No Ashwin please... As Dhoni mentioned, Indians should grab the crucial moments to win the test. Special tactics have to be made for Williamson & Taylor to get out and more concentration to play against Boult & Southee. If they do this homework, we will have better opportunity to win it.

  • POSTED BY Srilanka-rules on | February 5, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    If Dhoni wants like coterie of friends to play cricket, he can do it in Ranchi. Please this is India's International match. Don't mock the fans by selecting non-performers again and again. Please give chances to youngsters. But not to the proven failures like Ishant and Ashwin.

    Ishant might take 2 or 3 wickets by luck. But he is no way an international bowler. Averages 43 with bowl in overseas conditions. And offer freebies to batsman too often. Because of him, other bowlers can't exert any pressure on batsman.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    Play Ishwar Pandey & Umesh Yadav. Why are they warming the benches.

  • POSTED BY vimal03 on | February 5, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    We'll I never thought newzeland will win odi series and they did. However I am 100% sure that newzeland will win the test series quite easily. look at the poor Indian bowling attack they couldn't even stop any newzeland batsman scoreing. How can we expect them to take 10 wickets on fast bowlers friendly pitches. As a neutral fan I feel sorry for all Indian fans.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Ashwin is wicket less in his last 42.2 test overs. And in overseas he is wicket less in his last 56.2 test overs.

  • POSTED BY Night.angel on | February 5, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    "It is important that when we are in a situation where we can dictate terms, it is very important we go through that phase and keep building on it."

    Well Dhoni knows lots of IMPORTANT's for a Test match.

    How about "It is ALSO IMPortant to drop the NON-perfomers like Ishant and back the youngsters like ishwar pandey" for a change.

    Change your attitude Dhoni, drop the non-performers. Afterall, Ishant Avg 42 in overseas "helpful" conditions with bowl.

  • POSTED BY Night.angel on | February 5, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    Well, Ashwin and Jadeja will be ineffective in green pitch. I can't stand the logic behind the selection of this squad for overseas. Even Srilanka has a fast-bowling allrounder in Mathews.

    In overseas, it is not combination of 3 seamers + 2 spinners which is going to work but it is 4 seamers + 1 spinner.

    If Dhoni has guts, drop Ishant and Ashwin and go for Bhuvi and pandey.

    Ideal bowling combination is : Zaheer, Pandey, Shami, Bhuvi or Yadav, Jadeja.

    Ashwin won't take any wickets in green pitch as evident from South Africa, then why do you want 2 spinners in the team??

  • POSTED BY Mujtaba.Qazi on | February 5, 2014, 10:11 GMT

    MSD is in habit of using ineffectives again n again, for instance B.Kumar & I.Saharma do not desrve to be in team. This is the pitty that most deserving fast bowlers for test cricket Yadav & Aaron are being ignored.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    agree with anand palwankar,rohit has played 91 out of his 127 odis away.his average is 58 at home.rohit sharma has the best technique compared to other current indian batsman.rohit would be unstoppable if he gets some confidence and play his natural game.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    @kalyan : and who do you think can be a better keeper batsman than dhoni.. (please do not say karthik... he is a waste in pressure situations..)

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    not agree with team mentioned here..ndia need to be attacking..play with 4 pacer with jadeja..who can take 20 wickets.can use jadeja in middle. my team. 1.vijay 2.shikher 3.pujara 4.kohli 5.rahane/rohit 6.jadeja 7.dhoni 8.zaheer 9.ishwar 10.shami 11.yadav.

  • POSTED BY kausani on | February 5, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    @Elgin Cricketer. Just look at the rankings.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    m not agree with the team mentioned here..team should be.. 1.vijay 2.shikhar 3.pujara 4.kohli 5.rahane/rohit 6.dhoni 7.jadeja 8.ishwar 9.zaheer 10.shami 11. yadav

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    Three quicks - Zaheer, Shami, Ishant Two spinners - Ashwin, Jadeja Six batsmen - Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit/Rahane, Dhoni

    I feel the quicks have to bowl in short bursts which is why spinners have to support them by bowling longer spells.

  • POSTED BY devilznitein on | February 5, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    So many ppl bashing ashwin is really funny. I have 2 points to differ 1. Why are ppl not questioning the fast bowlers. Zaheer Khan was not bowling his heart out in the 1st test 2nd innings and the 2nd test in S.A.Why question a spin bowler who has no assistance abroad, rather a fast bowler who has all the opportunity to take wickets. ( If you point out to jadeja's 5 wicket haul in second test, that was a dry pitch will be my answer) 2. What has Rohit / Rahane done to claim stakes to their place. Nowadays it is really irritating to see Rohit sharma play in the team. ( I dont undermine his 200 in ODI). But Overseas he is useless. Pick anyone and go with a 5 bowler combination.

  • POSTED BY realfan on | February 5, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    said it "n" number of times, with out 5 bowlers you cant think of drawing a test match abroad let alone winning... in subcontinent the case is different, where the spinners will get 5 wicket hauls easily, but in abroad mathces you cant expect 3 pacers to take 15 wicckets in a test match , players from AUS, ENG, SA, NZ play pacers very well and there wont be any sort of help for spinners, that why you need and extra pacer, so that he can chip in with 2 or 3 wickets and atleast to hold one end up so that the main bowlers wont get tierd....

  • POSTED BY kiwicricketnut on | February 5, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    too many weak links in our test team to be considered favourites, rutherford has brain explosions right on lunch, i swear he is the hungryest player in the world, just not hungry for runs, fulton better hope it doesn't swing, captain is very hit and miss with the bat, sohdi is a brilliant talent but relatively untested and to answer your question Gagg the sohdi experiment should continue untill he is up to speed, he is the best spinner in the country by a mile, neil wagner doesn't get the movement with an old ball like everyone said he could, while our odi side looks very good there are still alot of gaps to fill in the test side, hesson is doing well but his loyalty to some players is detramental to the team in alot of ways, better players are missing out, i still think we can win but we are definately not favourites

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    Those who are constantly critiquing Rohit should remember Rohit's performance till now at overseas. Out of his 21 ODI half centuries he scored 14 out of India and out of 14, 8 outside subcontinent. Out of 21 half centuries and 4 hundreds he scored only 4 half centuries and 1 century against countries like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh etc. Can anyone describe these overseas status is not good enough for any player ? In recent ODIs Rohit scored 3,20,39,79,4. Is this a total flop show ? Why people often tend to criticize Indian player immediately ? Rahane was suppose to be Indian future in everybody's eye after SA. But after NZ ODI series same people are started saying Rahane should dropped from team. This is not good for any youngsters. Pl allow them to settle. Agreed Rohit played over 110 ODIs. But we should remember out of 110 matches Rohit played just 31 matches as opener. Rest all matches he just walked at ground and started hitting as he always found his turn at about 45th over. ATB Rohit

  • POSTED BY DJRNZ on | February 5, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Hi think we could have an even better attack if we replaced Wagner and Bracewell. A lot of respect for Wagner but I think there are better bowlers around in NZ and the same for Bracewell. Will be happy for them to prove me wrong though. I'd like to see Milne have a go if he was fit and I really liked what I saw in Matt Henry.

  • POSTED BY rock_kamran on | February 5, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    What pace you are talking about of ishant,, 130 km/h. Even bhuvi bowls faster than him. And ishwar has just gone there to warm the bench?

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    Go for 6 batters + Jadeja + 4 fast Bowlers, Dhawan should be given last chance to prove his worth I still believe he can come good, Vijay should bat like he did in SA, grind the new ball, Pujara & Kohli forms the base of Indian Batting order with the support of Rahane and Dhoni, Jaddu should be the lone spinner and be preferred ahead of Ashwin, Zak, Shami, Pandey and Yadav should form the 4 pace attack..Zaheer bowls at 127-132, but has tricks in his bag ...Pandey bowls at 132-137, bt has good height and can bowl good outswingers....Shami with 135-140 speed can reverse the bowl and control the things with new ball...Yadav should be used as strike bowler who can reverse the ball and bowl at 140-145 k speed..he can go for runs but with the strike rate of 46, he's the best hope.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    Dont touch the batting order for the 2 tests. Rohit at no.5 is the best bet. He atleast has a 79 in the ODI series plus played way better than Dhawan. Rohit was unlucky in tests in SA. Yes, coz he did not throw it away and got out to good balls. He is not an opener, so why make him one. In ODI's Rahane is a much better opener than Rohit so we can swap them. Back to tests, Rohit is not only my No.5 but my captain as well(In ODI's too). Most importantly, he has the respect of the best player of the teaam, kohli. He is a bowler's captain, unlike Dhoni, like some of the best captains of the world. Play one spinner in Jadeja and Rohit himself can bowl much better than Dhoni makes him bowl. In his short stint, he has proved that he bats better as a captain as well. Dhoni is just a waste of a place away from home, in tests in general. And Jadeja should be played only as a bowler without expecting him to score any(he does not anyway). Ashwin should go, outside India definitely.

  • POSTED BY nkoch on | February 5, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    whatever you do, don't give another chance to Ashwin and Ishant to mess up

  • POSTED BY realfan on | February 5, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    my only wish dhoni to go with bowling attack of 4-1 ( 4 seamers and one spinner ) shami, yadhav, zaheer, ishwar/bhvui will be my pacers and jadeja will be spinner ( outside asia ) ... better dhoni makes rohit to sit for overseas tests, play rahane at 5 .... 4 bowlers ( 3 seamers and one spinner who is ineffective ouside asia ) cant get you 15 wickets in a match let alone 20....

  • POSTED BY muzika_tchaikovskogo on | February 5, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    To me, the ideal composition of the pace attack would be Shami, Kumar and Yadav/ Aaron. I just hope Dhoni once and for all realised that Ishant is just not a test quality bowler.

  • POSTED BY AamirKhan-SuperStar on | February 5, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    Cooler weather should allow Indian seamers to maintain some steam for two matches, but going on recent form taking 40 wickets in two matches seems to be one near impossible task for these bowlers. If India can win first test then only i would feel they can't lose this series because of their habit to let it lose in an hour's play, having said that a miracle performance is expected from one of the spinners (whoever plays Ash or Jad).

  • POSTED BY cricketsubh on | February 5, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    Shanmuthu why u say NZ BAATING not up to the indian bating nz got tylor ,rider,maculum,wilmilinson .anderson india got unsettle opening line up dhawan viyey need to cement their places no6 spot is also unsettle i do not think dhoni is a test player and also no5 spot unsettle expect from kholi,pujara ,dhoni,every one is fighting for places in the bating line up.

  • POSTED BY AamirKhan-SuperStar on | February 5, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Please India play well. I plan to get up at 3.30 am just to see you guys play, don't disappoint for god's sake.

  • POSTED BY CricketFever11 on | February 5, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    How can the author say this is tight test. Kiwis will definitely win both test matches by innings. India are absolute minnows overseas.

  • POSTED BY fairfan70 on | February 5, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    Indian bowling attack is less than convincing (Zaheer will become ineffective from second spell onwards, Ishant Sharma less said the better, if Ashwin plays he will keep offering dollies on middle and leg stumps that do not turn). NZ batters can look forward to run feasts to improve their batting averages. Indian batters have a battle on their hands to save tests.

  • POSTED BY StevieS on | February 5, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Oh I have also read that Ryder can now bowl off spin, haven't seen him bowl but the word is he isn't to bad. Ryder for Sodhi would be awesome.

  • POSTED BY StevieS on | February 5, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    When is this Ish Sodhi experiment going to end? My prediction Sodhi 22 overs 1 for 86. Would be about par for his abilities at this stage in his career. Kane Williamson 11 overs 2 for 38.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    Ashwin should played in the place of either dhawan or rahane. Even after having ashwin ,dhoni and jadeja and asks for sixth batsman , it is better dissolve BCCI.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    Regarding the test Series again India did not opt for new spinners. Again Ashwin & Jadeja were the only spinners. No other options for Spin Bowling. No Ojha, Mishra.

    Dhoni Sir, consider this as the Team for the first test.

    1. Vijay 2.Rahane 3.Pujara 4.Kohli 5.Rohit 6.Dhoni 7.Ishwar 8.Jadeja 9.Shami 10.Zaheer 11.Bhuvaneshwar

    This will be a perfect Test team.

  • POSTED BY Patties1984 on | February 5, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    @ Madhu Ayyagari 1>Rohit is leading batsmen in TEST & T20 2>JADEJA is the best spin bowling allrounder for Tests (Check out stats) Bowling Avg of 26 batting avg of 50 . 3>Ashwin & Ishant have not proven their metal even in Domestic & deserve to be sacked, along with Raina.

  • POSTED BY Nero28 on | February 5, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    No Rohits dream debut came in the 6th spot. He played better with the tail than rahane. He should be back to the that spot. I think his short ball problem will not be the case in test after getting enough experience and he could be able to play his defensive style batting more easily than odi match.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    India had lost the ODI Series due to the poor Bowling Performance. Atleast they should seal the test series. In the recent trend India's form in Overseas is highly worried. To overcome this, India must win the Test Series. It is a big question mark that why Amit Mishra had not been considered for all the five matches eventhough he was in the squad. Inspite of the poor bowling performance of Ashwin, Mishra should be given a chance. But not.

  • POSTED BY Humdingers on | February 5, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    Wait Fletcher has "worked with NZ"? Expect a whitewash! Hopefully it will be 2-0 to NZ and Indian Selectors finally wake up and get rid of the Coach and Captain!

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    Ashwin useless outside Indian Subcontinent as bowler. Jadeja a better choice.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | February 5, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    Jadeja is a much better choice than Ashwin in this test, because he spins the ball AWAY from most of the NZ batsmen, Ashwin would most likely not help any in these matches.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    Team selection is one the big concern for India. Dhoni has been partial sometimes to players who he thinks will perform inspite of being out of form. Yadav has never been backed by dhoni. I truely believe if groomed properly he is the future of Indian bowling. Dhoni must show more confidence in him. if the Indian Team can show discipline in bowling they can beat any team in their backyard. On current form India has no chance of winning. The batting like old days is becoming single man oriented. before it was sachin now kohli. As talented as rohit is, mentally he is the most fragile batsmen I have seen. Time to players to stand up.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    rahane should be dropped in favor of ashwin he is now a specialist batsman and who also can bowl. My playing xi

    Vijay Dhawan pujara Kohli Rohit Dhoni Jadeja Ashwin Zaheer Shami Bhuvi

  • POSTED BY pt_pt on | February 5, 2014, 6:39 GMT

    New Zealand will be too strong for India, plus India are down in confidence after a 4 -0 thrashing in the ODI's. But in saying that probably be draw due to the weather.

  • POSTED BY Rags57 on | February 5, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    Siddharth, I am surprised that you still root for Ishant - even in test cricket, he has not been a consistent performer. I feel he should be sent to play Ranji for two years and unless he does something extraordinary should be left out. Ishwar did a pretty good job with a relatively older ball in the practice game so surprised he is not in the scheme of things. Even Umesh Yadav is a better prospect than Ishant. Jadeja scores over Ashwin in bowling but don't count on him to do anything in batting - especially in tests where his technique will get exposed. And finally, why Rohit Sharma? What has he done in the last 2 months to deserve a place? I would rather play Ashiwn in his place given that he has shown more initiative and technique as a batsman and could be more useful as a spinner in tests than he was in the one dayers where he was used more to contain batsman.

  • POSTED BY punterdgr8 on | February 5, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    pitches in sa during our tour there was nowhere near s.afican conditions.having said that,kohli is a class act and so is pujara.nz must get rid of these 2 and the rest should follow suit.

  • POSTED BY Iceman29 on | February 5, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    As an Indian fan I wish NZ all the best, NZ have some tremendous bowlers and all rounders in their team.. the current NZ team is way much better than the NZ team we used to see especially at their home they are very dangerous...My concern is Dhoni will again select the usual culprits Rohit, Ishant, Ashwin, jadega and will never give chances to Ishwar, Mishra and others in test matches...Dhoni is spoiling the future of Ind cricket and the dreams of a billion fans...Wake up Dhoni and selectors it is no use if we select new players and dont give chance to play..the only way to mold this team is rotate the players do not get complacent with the past performance....

  • POSTED BY ccrriicc on | February 5, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    Dhwan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Pandey, Jadeja, Yadav, Shami, Zaheer. Dump- Ashwin, Rohit Sharma.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    I am surprised at the discussions regarding selection of Ashwin, Jadeja, Ishant and Rohit in the 11 where the one common question should have been 'Why the hell are these four in the team"

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | February 5, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    I hope Dhoni doesn't go with mediocre Ashwin who has picked only 1 wicket since SA tour.....Jadeja is a good option at number 8....but Mishra or Ojha would have been much better...

    Vijay- Dhawan- Pujara- Kohli- Rohit- Rahane- Dhoni- Jadeja- Zaheer- Shami- Pandey

  • POSTED BY Cricfever_PM on | February 5, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    Hope team India forget the ODI horror and concentrate on Test, and for god sake please don't take Ishanth in playing XI as he is not the player we are looking to play for India longer time. Hope MSD will give chance to Pandey as time for him to get chance. My XI :: Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Rahena, MSD, Jadeja, Zaheer, Pandey & Shammi/Bhuvanesh.

  • POSTED BY x_lnc on | February 5, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    both Dhawan and Rohit should be dropped and final eleven should be Vijay, Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Rayudu, Dhoni, Ashwin, Jadeja, Zaheer, Shami and Umesh

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    Its funny how we give or write about the final XI we want. The fact is no matter what we write Dhoni selects the same old guys Ishant, Ashwin and Jadeja. I feel ojha and mishra get a raw deal whether it is tests or odi's and umesh yadav and Ishwar dont stand a chance to be in the final XI.

  • POSTED BY SameOld on | February 5, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    Really looking forward to this series as a Kiwi fan. Probably the best chance we'll ever get to knock India over, but favourites? Really? I don't think so.

    NZ weakness against quality spin remains, so I think India would be wise to play both Ashwin and Jaddu. All the attention on Kohli and Pujara has ignored the fact that the every single one of the Indian batsmen (plus Ashwin, Jaddu and Dhoni) are more than capable of taking the game away with the bat. Zaheer loves bowling in NZ, too. India are definitely favourites in my book, especially for the 1st Test.

    That said, this NZ side has real quality, both batsmen and bowlers. If our big four (Ross, Kane, Tim & Trent) turn it on and get a bit of support from the rest, this could be a hell of a contest. For NZ to take either or both Tests, they'll need to play out of their skins.

    Watch for a big performance from Wagner. He is a much better bowler than his international figures to date show.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    @Claque Ashwin is definitely a better test batsman than Jadeja has proven to be; However, both Ashwing and jadeja lack the experience of bowling in NZ. Additionally. the track record of spinners in NZ is quite poor and Jadeja has a better chance of picking up wickets than Ashwin does. If Ashwin is picked ahead of Jadeja it is only in the case where Dhoni decides to go with an 8 -3 team which is quite unlikely. The other case is when the team is a 6 - 5 and Rahane / Sharma are dropped and Ashwin bats at No.7.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Dhoni is slowly looking like he cannot even captain a school team. Dhoni thinks that he and his side is too good in batting to chase 300+ score every time, which is the reason why the whole batting unit and bowling unit is feeling tremendous pressure. There is nothing wrong with the bowling or batting department, Once a good captain comes in who knows how to handle the fast bowler and who knows how to attack with the spin option, who have some respect for experienced players like harbhajan singh, gautam gambhir and who knows how to set a field that will help the bowlers to pick up wickets and who does not command and force bowler to bowl in certain line and length but discuss with other player how he should set a field, this current team can win lot of matches for India. Currently players of indian team are not playing for india they are playing to proove dhoni is right thats why india is loosing matches. wake up selector and wake up self-proclaim captain cool.

  • POSTED BY SA_Ahmadi on | February 5, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    Well, I believe that India can win the series if they rely on both departments,batting and bowling only reliance on batting will not be enough,If India rely on their batting line up and even if they do their best the match will go to draw, And I just want declare that openers in every format should play aggressively, Because if they just get a partnership of 80 or 100 runs and lay a platform, so the team will surely 300+ score,and for Shekhar Dhawan should be 100% aggressive because his batting style is aggressive so if you are including such batsmen in test squad then let them do what they are made for.All the best for Team India

  • POSTED BY pavan_v on | February 5, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    vijay should be replaced with rayudu. rahane should bat at the top.

  • POSTED BY sergio11 on | February 5, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    On god..plss dnt play Ishant..Eshwar is similar sorta bolwer..tall,back of good length baller..why this team is backing Ishant so much aftr all these poor performance from him...and Umesh..he was the only bolwer who stood tall after the AUS tour last year..and never given chance in test after that..Batting luks good when Pujara and Murali in the side..both wont go for flashy shots..and ofcoz Kholi will always perform..if the middle order..Rohit,Rahane,Dhoni can contribute then it will be an exciting series...4 bolwer must be..Zak,Shami,Umesh,Jaddu...Zak's record in NZ is better than any of the bolwers playing in this series...and he will undoubtly do will..Swinging conditing....its all depend on middle order and the other seamers..

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 5:27 GMT

    @Elign Cricketer. Taylor average=47.51 while playing in the most brittle batting line up. Also he has centuries vs India in India, sri lanka in sri lanka, west indies in west indies and is a proven test match player after 50+ matches. Williamson plays for a weak team where only he and taylor can bat long. He's only 23. Whilst Pujara has played only 2 tests outside India and both him and Kohli can afford to lose their wicket because they can rely on others to score. If taylor ain't there or fails, 45/10 or 68/10. Hence te wruter is correct.

  • POSTED BY FrancisPayne on | February 5, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    @jain84. Have you been following this tour? Binny isn't even in the squad

  • POSTED BY OE-Chores on | February 5, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    @ Elgin Cricketer - I'm sure I will not be the only person to pick up on this, but you just called Kohli potentially the greatest batsman of all time!!!! Hahahahaha. No way! That is manic hyperbole.

    Tough one to pick, clearly the Indians aren't as good as they think they are, but they'll surely be better over 5 days. It will come down to how well their top order play Boult and Southee I think.

    Go the Kiwi's as always.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    Well ! as & always ... Dhoni love to Ishant will never over !.. If Ishant plays its a clear indication of how partial one could be . Even if he picks wickets which is once in BLUE MOON , he is no worth to team at all!.. Guys who perform well in practise match with good Rangi record should be given chance ..especially when team needs them most.. get PANDEY & let Ishwar do the justice :)

  • POSTED BY Viratkohlirocks on | February 5, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    @wapuser dont forget ajinkya rahane, who had an excellent series in SA.

  • POSTED BY yogicoolboy on | February 5, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    My bowling combination will be Zaheer, Shami Pandey and a toss up between jadu and ashwin. I guess it wont be a bad idea to play both of them.

  • POSTED BY Claque on | February 5, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    "Ravindra Jadeja should be rewarded with a place ahead of Ashwin". On what basis? Ashwin's Test batting average 39.40 and bowling average 28.50. He has taken 104 wickets in 19 matches. I didn't realize this level of performance warranted being dropped

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    yet again a lot depends on virat kohli and pujara.....the openers must stand up to the challenge and shud be ready to play around 100 balls each if india are to win test matches overseas....

  • POSTED BY Sandt on | February 5, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    Please include Yadav in the team. He has the pace and can generate good bounce to trouble NZ batsmen. He has proven it even in India against England. If Dhoni even one percentage of confidence he is showing in useless Ishant sharma to Yadav he can become a world class bowler who can take wickets for India. What is Ishant done so far, when is he taken 5 wickets in a test. height alone cannot be a point for selecting into the team. Dhoni please don't spoil Indian cricket by supporting these useless cricketers.

  • POSTED BY Kashi0127 on | February 5, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Actually the writer Sidharth Monga has got it all wrong. The NZ bowlers were allowed to bowl only 10 overs a piece in the ODIs. With no such restriction they are going to ruin through the over hyped India batting.

  • POSTED BY Kashi0127 on | February 5, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    This will be NZ 2, India 0. Go Kiwis go! I don't like to see India win anything under Dhoni for the way he treats new comers

  • POSTED BY Paulimus_prime on | February 5, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    I think the firs test will be a draw due to weather and India's batters being good enough to withstand NZ's excellent swing bowlers/the amount of time in the game will restrict the chance to take 20 wickets. But i thin the second test with better weather will allow NZ's i n form batsmen (Williamson & Taylor & even Anderson) to take advantage of tired Indian bowlers and for our very good swing bowlers (Boult & Southee) to challenge the good Indian batsmen and take the 20 required for a NZ series win 1-nil.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    The writer implying that Taylor and Williamson are of the same calibre as Kohli and Pujara... seriously? The latter two are the best batsmen in the world, specially Kohli who is arguably the all-time greatest. With all due respect , Taylor and Williamson are not even close.

  • POSTED BY ThePacifist10 on | February 5, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    Ishant Sharma is the worst cricketer in the country right now. He cannot be allowed to participate in International cricket. As usual, Dhoni will make his silly selections and make Ishwar Pandey serve drinks for the entire tour whilst complaining that there are no good bowlers in India.

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | February 5, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    Sign of great worry for Indian batting.Except for Virat and Pujara all batsmen have under performed on these fast tracks.Missing you David/laxman and Section. They all kept on driving the ball.What are coaches doing?Who is gonna tell these youngsters that trusting bounce on these tracks matters a lot.

  • POSTED BY sandeepgla on | February 5, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    four bowlers should be zaheer, shami, jadeja, panday. (pls not ishant and ashwin).

  • POSTED BY jain84 on | February 5, 2014, 4:26 GMT

    With the team predicted above, i don't see any fifth bowler which is always handy in test.i think in these conditions Binny should be given a chance but the point is who will he replace in top 7??

  • POSTED BY http.ashok.in on | February 5, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    Pandey should be playing instead of ishant he is not the great bowler zaher shami pandy jadeja are 4 bowler 1test

  • POSTED BY BobCo on | February 5, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    Are we really to believe this is to be viewed as a series between roughly equal teams? One of the "big three" vs the Kiwis? Surely the Kiwis have to start as slight underdogs? That aside, I admit that I really do hope the NZders thump Team India in this one, mainly to underline the farce of the "no relegation" idea. Before that, I was just hoping for some good cricket from one or other, if not both, sides (and expecting it mainly from India, and specifically Pujara and Kohli, who are world class IMHO)... funny how one's perspective can be changed by administrators!!!

  • POSTED BY ProdigyA on | February 5, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    It will be a good contest if Dhoni picks the rite team. Get rid of the sharmas, and Ashwin and u will have a chance to compete, else it will be the same old story.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 4:19 GMT

    If a 1-0 defeat (which was almost 2-0) is defined as putting up a fight, have to say the writer has very low expectations from a world champion side.... too bad the moderate fans will have to tolerate more of these 'putting up fights' in the future with IND set to play more and more with ENG and AUS

  • POSTED BY rajuramki on | February 5, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Rohit Sharma has clearly shown that he cannot perform in overseas conditions . Ishant should never be in the Indian team . It wont be a bad idea to play Ashwin instead of Rohit since Ashwin is a regular bowler and can bat better than Rohit in overseas conditions.

  • POSTED BY rajuramki on | February 5, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Rohit Sharma has clearly shown that he cannot perform in overseas conditions . Ishant should never be in the Indian team . It wont be a bad idea to play Ashwin instead of Rohit since Ashwin is a regular bowler and can bat better than Rohit in overseas conditions.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | February 5, 2014, 4:19 GMT

    If a 1-0 defeat (which was almost 2-0) is defined as putting up a fight, have to say the writer has very low expectations from a world champion side.... too bad the moderate fans will have to tolerate more of these 'putting up fights' in the future with IND set to play more and more with ENG and AUS

  • POSTED BY ProdigyA on | February 5, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    It will be a good contest if Dhoni picks the rite team. Get rid of the sharmas, and Ashwin and u will have a chance to compete, else it will be the same old story.

  • POSTED BY BobCo on | February 5, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    Are we really to believe this is to be viewed as a series between roughly equal teams? One of the "big three" vs the Kiwis? Surely the Kiwis have to start as slight underdogs? That aside, I admit that I really do hope the NZders thump Team India in this one, mainly to underline the farce of the "no relegation" idea. Before that, I was just hoping for some good cricket from one or other, if not both, sides (and expecting it mainly from India, and specifically Pujara and Kohli, who are world class IMHO)... funny how one's perspective can be changed by administrators!!!

  • POSTED BY http.ashok.in on | February 5, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    Pandey should be playing instead of ishant he is not the great bowler zaher shami pandy jadeja are 4 bowler 1test

  • POSTED BY jain84 on | February 5, 2014, 4:26 GMT

    With the team predicted above, i don't see any fifth bowler which is always handy in test.i think in these conditions Binny should be given a chance but the point is who will he replace in top 7??

  • POSTED BY sandeepgla on | February 5, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    four bowlers should be zaheer, shami, jadeja, panday. (pls not ishant and ashwin).

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | February 5, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    Sign of great worry for Indian batting.Except for Virat and Pujara all batsmen have under performed on these fast tracks.Missing you David/laxman and Section. They all kept on driving the ball.What are coaches doing?Who is gonna tell these youngsters that trusting bounce on these tracks matters a lot.

  • POSTED BY ThePacifist10 on | February 5, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    Ishant Sharma is the worst cricketer in the country right now. He cannot be allowed to participate in International cricket. As usual, Dhoni will make his silly selections and make Ishwar Pandey serve drinks for the entire tour whilst complaining that there are no good bowlers in India.

  • POSTED BY on | February 5, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    The writer implying that Taylor and Williamson are of the same calibre as Kohli and Pujara... seriously? The latter two are the best batsmen in the world, specially Kohli who is arguably the all-time greatest. With all due respect , Taylor and Williamson are not even close.