Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, said his players needed to hit the ground running in India if they wanted to challenge the world’s top-ranked One-Day International team on their home turf.
New Zealand, No. 5 in the world, play the first of three ODIs against India in Mumbai on October 22.
Hesson said the Virat Kohli-led Indians showed their potency in the recent 4-1 ODI series win over Australia. “Look, their record at home has been phenomenal in the last two or three years,” he said on Thursday (October 12) prior to his team’s departure for India.
“You know going over there that you have to perform, otherwise you get taught a pretty harsh lesson. It’s important for us to adapt really quickly.”
Hesson has travelled to India with a core of nine players, including Kane Williamson, the captain, and Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor, the senior batting stalwarts. A further six players will be picked from among the New Zealand A players, who are currently touring India.
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“The beauty of an ‘A’ tour means we’ve already got people in India, adapting to conditions, so when they come in they should be as familiar as they’re going to be,” he said.
Hesson stressed that India presented unique challenges to touring players. “Obviously there’s the dew factor, the conditions are all very different depending on the grounds you go to,” he said. “We’re going to rely a lot of the experience of our senior players.”
He also confirmed that Tom Latham, who has opened for New Zealand in the past, would be moved down the order and handed wicketkeeping duties as New Zealand looked for more firepower at the top. “It would be fair to say Martin and Tom, although they have had some really good performances individually, haven’t really clicked at the top and certainly haven’t generated a strike-rate as a pair that we’d like,” explained Hesson.