August 11, 2003

Indian players warned of Kiwi competitiveness

India's cricketers won't be lacking for advice when New Zealand tour travel there next month for a Test and one-day series.

With the Indian team scheduled to arrive in Bangalore ahead of their preparatory camp, Kapil Dev - their former captain and coach - echoed the words of John Wright, warning them not to take New Zealand lightly.

Kapil said the conditions would be tough for New Zealand, but that had always been the case. The New Zealanders are used to playing on green pitches, that have recently proved to have more bounce as well.

India has rarely provided those sorts of conditions and after the problems experienced by New Zealand's groundsmen last summer, it was always likely that India's pitches for the return visit would be low on the user-friendly scale for the New Zealanders.

Kapil said New Zealand had a reputation for rising to an occasion, and that was what made them dangerous. He also said that he didn't think New Zealand were convincing winners over India last summer - it was just that they exploited the conditions better.

Wright said the New Zealanders were "under-rated". They had performed well on the recent tour of Sri Lanka, and Wright said it was up to India to perform better, and to build on their good home record. Both Kapil and Wright were happy with the depth emerging in the pace bowling department.

Wright added he had no problems with the fact that the Board of Control for Cricket in India had chosen 36 players for the conditioning camp. The exercise would be good from a fitness point of view, and he was confident he could handle the numbers.