India’s tour of NewZealand – a preview

The Indian team has been announced for the upcoming NZ tour.

It goes as:

India Twenty20 Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain & WK), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha.

Clearly, youth is the way to go. All the T20 stars included. Newcomers Pragyan Ozha and R.Jadeja find a place in the squad.

India ODI Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain & WK), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Kaarthick, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha.

Inclusion of D. Kaarthick makes some sense. Especially with Dhoni having some fitness problems at the end of the SL tour. Pragyan too is a smart choice. His omission in the last ODI in SL was a mystery.

India TEST Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain & WK), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Kaarthick, Murali Vijay, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, L Balaji, Dhawal Kulkarni, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra.

Murali Vijay is taking a bit of a gamble. With Jaffer in prime form in the domestic circuit, would it prove a foolish decision? Especially on Kiwi wickets, which are a nightmare for an opener. Dhawal Kulkarni is a bit of over the head choice. I think Irfan Pathan could have been included, considering the obvious help for swing bowlers. For me, introducing Dhawal so early into the scene, might do him more harm than good. Keeping him on the bench and under V. Prasad will be more sensible. Amit Mishra too is an interesting choice. Great opportunity now for all the so labeled ‘surprise entries’. They got to live up to the selectors’ faith in them.

Injured Harbhajan on the tour is questionable. Hopefully he will get a role to play in India’s success and not just a game. Pace attack too seems a bit fragile bcoz of the inclusion of Munaf and Balaji, both lacking vital match practice. Rahul Dravid seems a misfit in this bouyant team. Perhaps, he would want to consider doing him and the team some good, by stepping down sometime soon.

India have a forgetful record in Kiwi-land. We may be on a roll, but NZ is new ground for a majority for most of the players. Even more notably for our skipper – MSD.  Team spirit would get us half way now – need for everybody to give their best performances.

For many of you who may be unacquainted with the new NZ side here are some of their latest heroes.

D. Vettori : Cool, composed. Professional. Shrewd captain. World Class bowler. He will look to tighten the screws on India from the word – Play.

Kyle Mills: The new Kiwi pace spearhead. Accurate, Miserly, Pacey and more important – confident. A self made star, we should expect nothing free from him.

D OBrien and Tim Southee: Mills’ right hand and left hand men. Discipline – there lies their strength.

B. McCullum: Wicketkeeper and the prime strokemaker of the team. And with a level head on his shoulders, he knows exactly when to attack and when to defend.

Ross Taylor and Peter Fulton: The main attackers in the side. Some experience here, but more importantly, loads of talent, and strength.

Grant Elliot: The new kid on the block. With some sensational innings against the Aussies, he is more than a promising all rounder.

The test team also includes:

James Franklin: All rounder

Brent Arnel: Uncapped pace bowler. Interesting to see him bowl…

Jesse Ryder: Explosive top order batsman and also a fine bowler.

Peter McGlashan: Wicketkeeper. And like most of them around the world – a dynamic batsman

For the entire first test squad with bulletin on cricinfo

First Test squad: Daniel Vettori (capt), Brent Arnel, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Tim McIntosh, Brendon McCullum (wk), Chris Martin, Kyle Mills, Iain O’Brien, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor.

With other upcoming talents in Guptill and Neil Broom, the Kiwi team looks almost as impressive as the Indian one.

Will the home advantage once again prevail or will Dhoni’s knights continue their romping form and come back with the spoils? We only have to wait a short time. I think we are all set for an exciting series. And I will pray that India emerge triumphant.

The fixtures are as follows:

T20 : 25th and 27th feb

ODIs : 3,6,8,11,14 March

Tests: 18-22, 26-30 March, 3-7 April

For detailed fixtures with IST timings click here.

Indian Team details thanks to http://cricketvillage.blogspot.com/

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