Adam Milne wants to touch the 160-km mark. (Getty Images)
There will be no respite for Indian batsmen in the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand. The Kiwis are ready to unleash a pace-heavy squad, with two tearaway fast bowlers — Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne — to breathe down batsmen’s neck at favourable home conditions in the five-match ODI series.
Indian batsmen’s poor track record against quality fast bowling is something that has been well exploited by New Zealand before.
The Kiwis must have also closely followed India’s recent tour to South Africa where they struggled against the pace and bounce.
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Given the conditions and the focus on green tracks, the Kiwi bowlers can make the Indians hop around. When India visited New Zealand in 2002, the tracks could be hardly distinguished from the lush outfields.
Milne, a 21-year-old sensation, who created a flutter by bowling at 150-plus speed in the Twenty20s against the West Indies, will be the one to watch out for.
McClenaghan has been a revelation since making his debut last year. The powerfully built left-armer was close to breaking the world record of being fastest to 50 ODI wickets after a sensational 5/58 against the West Indies at Eden Park on December 26. The Kiwi has 43 wickets from 18 matches at an average of 18.04.
At 27, McClenaghan is a late bloomer but New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has assigned him a specific role. He has been asked to go all out attacking.
“When he first came into the team the message was very strong -- that he’s a point of difference for us. He’s an aggressive, hostile bowler,” McCullum had said of McClenaghan.
Milne is the new phenomenon of New Zealand cricket. He is just 21 but has a reputation of bowling thunderbolts in domestic cricket.
He believes he’s bowled faster in domestic one-day matches but there were no speed guns to record that.
Milne, who was handed an international debut at 18 against in T20s against Pakistan in 2010, lived up to his reputation in the T20 series against the West Indies, regularly touching over 150kph. He is eyeing 160kph on the speed gun. Quite rightly, he has been mentored by Bond, who touched 156.4kph at the 2003 World Cup. The two will have the guidance of experienced Kyle Mills and Tim Southee while all- rounders Corey Anderson, who scored the fastest ODI ton recently, and Jimmy Neesham are also a part of the pace attack.
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has warned the visitors to be ready to play on green pitches.
“I think everyone’s aware of the type of surface that we’d like. We’ve been in India before and they have changed the pitch the day before a game because it wasn’t quite as dry as they would like. We certainly don’t get any favours when we travel, so I’d be disappointed if we provide any at home. We'll back our seamers over anyone's at the moment,” he said.
The New Zealand selectors have showed faith in the squad that drew 2-2 the recent five- match home series against the West Indies, with the exception of Auckland batsman Colin Munro, who will return to play for his province. After Sunday's match in Napier, the five-match series will move to Hamilton (Jan 22 and 28), Auckland (Jan 25), and Wellington (Jan 31). The two Tests will be played in Auckland and Wellington.
New Zealand ODI squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Jimmy Neesham, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan, and Adam Milne.