India-New Zealand ODI series: Can Indian batsmen survive the green top of New Zealand?
Indian batsmen reflect a shadow of themselves when they play abroad, while the same set of players look aggressive, classy and elegant playing in flat pitches of the sub-continent. History reflects India's weakness playing under alien conditions, more so when the pitch has a green cover on top. Hence, former New Zealand batsman Martin Crowe feels that green pitches should be prepared to assist the New Zealand seamers in the upcoming India-New Zealand series starting with the first ODI on Sunday. Can Indian batsmen be successful in the green top?
Anshuman Gaekwad, former Indian coach does not consider Indian batsman to be weak while playing abroad in green tops. He said, ''I agree that the Indian players are not used to the green pitches, but look at their performance in South Africa, we lost, but India
did not play bad.'' India
lost against South Africa, who are a far superior team than New Zealand, so India
can expect a better result against New Zealand. India
is considered favourite for the series, as their ICC rankings also suggest the same, where India
lie in first position and New Zealand in eighth position in the ICC standings.
Still, India cannot take the home team for granted, as the 'Black Caps' are a strong team when playing at home. ''New Zealand know how to utilise their resources as they know their conditions the best. They play well at home,'' said Gaekwad. But, New Zealand may not have a strong bowling unit, which is led by Tim Southee alongside some relatively unknown faces in the seamers department. The Indian batsmen need to exploit if they spot any weaknesses in their seamers.
While playing under green conditions, it is the openers who need to show some resilience in facing the new ball, so as to make batting easier for the batsman to follow. The Indian team has a relatively inexperienced openers in the form of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma who has not been tested under the green tops on many occasions. During India's last tour of South Africa, both the openers failed to impress with a opening stand of only 14 and 10 runs in the first and the second ODI respectively. This was also one of the main reasons for India's failure in the ODI series.
Gaekwad added,''The Indian openers need to stay on the crease and grind together. The job of the Indian openers would be to provide a platform for the middle order. A good start is a work half done.'' Players such as MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina should not be exposed to the new ball, for they can take the leather of the ball in the middle overs. With so many quality batsmen in the Indian line up, each one of them need to take responsibility and help India win the series.
The Indian team is no longer a one man team, which was a story during the late 90s, when India's success was largely dependent on Tendulkar's success in the match. The youngsters in the team are also challenging for spot in the starting eleven. One of the obvious candidate being Pujara, who has been scoring consistently in the longer format of the game.
''Everyone is playing well. The youngsters have also proved themselves. It is a team game, not an individual game,'' said Gaekwad. If all the players get their act together, India could easily turn victorious.