New Zealand vs India 2014: First Test preview – An acid test for MS Dhoni and co.

Author : Kuku
Ishwar Pandey of India (2nd-R) celebrates the wicket of Ili Tuagaga from New Zealand XI during day one of the two day international cricket warm up match between the New Zealand XI and India at Cobham Oval in Whangarei on Febuary 2, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Michael BRADLEY (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Ishwar Pandey impressed in the practice game

So, once again the hopes of Indian fans will be high from tomorrow, when team India will go through another acid test in the first Test match against New Zealand.  This is a golden chance for the team India to gather themselves and perform beyond their capabilities. In view of the good performance of team India during the two-day practice match, all they have got to do is to put on a similar show.

If they start well, it would put some psychological pressure on New Zealand that team India has now regained its lost self esteem and confidence. On a personal note, I strongly believe that it has become imperative for our bowlers to excel more than ever. They are the ones under pressure. Our batting lineup is still capable of taking the score up to a reasonable level, despite the failure of openers. In fact, if any three of the mainstream batsmen are able to strike, and the lower order batsmen give reasonable support, we can score 400+.

Also, by now, the prime Indian batsmen have got a taste of the bouncy tracks of New Zealand. After having played quite a few matches, they also know the particular strengths of the individual bowlers of New Zealand. Likewise, our bowlers, particularly the young ones, have observed as to what length they are required to bowl. The tight bowling by Ishwar Pandey in his first ever away match is a good example of the fact that we are getting accustomed to the local conditions out there and simply need to adapt to them.

Hopefully, with the availability of veteran Zaheer Khan to lead the bowling attack, things will turn around. We also have Mohammad Shami whose confidence is high and in case Pandey is given the chance, he can be an unknown quantity for the opposition.  They will hopefully be able to make a mark.

Shami has been able to get timely wickets – though his high economy rate nullifies the impact a bit. But here, with the presence of Zaheer Khan, all our bowlers will be able to get his valuable advice, which will prove handy. Also, R Ashwin might rediscover his magic with the ball. He has got to strike well to contain the run rate and secure his position in the team.

Also, the coach must have given the message loud and clear to the batsmen that there is no big hurry and their focus should be on defending their wickets first and then build the innings gradually. Recently, Sunil Gavaskar has very clearly said that there should be no room for the non-performers (attention: Dhawan, Raina). Partnerships should also be a focal point for the batsmen. For the bowlers, the only expectation should be that they should not bowl any short and wide deliveries.

The most vital advice for all of them would be to get their rhythm, not to panic and to stay calm. This is just another series and not the ultimate World Cup. For the supporters I intend to make a humble submission that our support is vital in forming a positive environment, so we must encourage MSD who has already given us unlimited delightful victories.

If one observes minutely, team India has lost more on account of their own mistakes rather than the performances of the players of New Zealand. Most of our batsmen have unfortunately lost their confidence and somehow did not play to their fullest capacity. But at the same time, team India is known for having a unique fighting spirit – especially when we are pushed to perform. Let us hope we will be able to compensate the earlier defeats by snatching both the tests. Amen.

I intend to quote just two examples of the ability within team India – firstly Ravindra Jadeja, who had displayed his batting skills in front of the same bowlers and was able to tie one ODI match with his tremendous fighting spirit and superb determination. Secondly, Virat Kohli played them in a fairly easy manner in the first two matches. These examples show that India can do well on these pitches as well!

This is the moral of the story – we have got splendid in-built fighting spirit and in the recent past, especially during the Champions Trophy, we have displayed this. Once we got our rhythm back and play without bothering about the end result, impossible is nothing. The whole world is waiting to see you boys strike. Best wishes warriors!

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »