India face ODI challenge at home against top-ranked NZ

Published January 18, 2023
India’s Rajat Patidar bats during a net practice session at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.—AFP
India’s Rajat Patidar bats during a net practice session at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.—AFP

HYDERABAD: India after registering a 3-0 clean sweep in the recently concluded ODI series at home against Sri Lanka now face world’s top-ranked team New Zealand in a three-match ODI rubber starting here at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Wednesday.

Rohit Sharma-led India, currently fourth on ICC ODI rankings table, thoroughly dominated the series against Sri Lanka, as they get ready for this year’s 50-over World Cup at home.

Master batter Virat Kohli, in particular, was exceptional smashing two centuries in the series that earned him the player-of-the-series award. The other player who really stood out from India’s camp was paceman Mohammed Siraj.

Right-armer Siraj was phenomenal with the ball in the third game at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruva­nanthapuram where he took a four-wicket haul and ended up with career best ODI figures of 4-32.

On the other hand, New Zealand will be high on confidence after defeating Pakistan in the latter’s backyard after 47 years and would be looking to register their first ODI series victory in India.

The Kane Williamson-captained side were clinical in the series against Babar Azam and company and won a nail-biting third ODI thanks to a belligerent half-century from Glenn Phillips.

New Zealand are also supremely confident but will dearly miss their big guns in regular Williamson and veteran seamer Tim Southee as both have been rested for the tour and flew back to New Zealand after the culmination of the Pakistan series.

The Black Caps will be led by Tom Latham, who has a decent captaincy experience.

India and New Zealand have met each other on 113 occasions with India winning 55 matches and New Zealand getting victory in 50 games while one match ended in a tie and seven matches could not yield a result. In India, both teams have played each other on 35 occasions with the hosts winning 26 ODIs and losing eight while one match ended in a tie.

The second and third ODIs of the series will be played in Raipur and Indore on Jan 21 and 24, respectively.

INJURED IYER OUT OF SERIES

Meanwhile, the BCCI said a back injury has forced India batter Shreyas Iyer out of the ODI series against New Zealand.

Rajat Patidar will replace Iyer in the squad for the series opener.

Iyer “will be heading to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for further assessment and management”, the BCCI said in a statement.

India’s revised ODI squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, K.S. Bharat (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Rajat Patidar, Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2023

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