With the India-New Zealand Test series still days away and both protagonists still looking to make the best preparations with almost nothing etched in stone, so to speak, former Australian fast bowler, and current actor/musician Brett Lee has gone ahead and said the Virat Kohli led team will beat the opposition – the first Test match at the Green Park starts on September 22 in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
“I think India will be too strong for New Zealand. India has got a lot of options in the batting order. It’s a power-packed one, you got Shikhar (Dhawan) putting his hand up after losing his opportunity. They got a serious bowling line-up as well. I think they are a well-balanced side,” Brett Lee in an interaction with IANS said.
While Brett Lee did not really elaborate on the strengths of the Indian line-up, we take a look at what makes the Captain Virat Kohli led Team India favourite to win the Test series – the Kiwis will not be pushovers as they have a string of good results in recent past and they have dogged determination that keeps them hanging on in the face of the toughest odds, but India is an altogether different kettle of fish.
While home conditions suit Indian cricketers much more than New Zealand is clear and the visitors are not good enough players of spin either, what is also clear and hands the advantage to India is clear from the fact that the visitors are likely to wilt under the hot mid-day sun in India – even as the monsoon retreats and the mornings and evenings become more tolerable, the entire day, starting as early as 9 am, becomes extremely hot and humid. These conditions are tough to handle in the longer formats of the game.
While that is as far as temperatures are concerned, the other factors that are being highlighted include the fact that India will be probably opting for spin-friendly dust-bowls in terms of pitches and New Zealand is not expected to survive long under the onslaught of the spinners like R Ashwin. India may not have the services of standout spinners like Anil Kumble any more (he is the current coach), but the rest available are still expected to do very well.
Indian pacers too will know much better than their New Zealand counterparts about how to use the pitches. The most important factor will be reverse swing and in Indian conditions, the Kiwis will find it hard to make the ball move even though they have acclimitisided themselves to the conditions over the years through the Indian Premier League (IPL) especially.
While their techniques and skills can be found wanting in foreign locales, Indian batting comes into its own in domestic conditions. The ball does not move too much and the New Zealand spinners are not expected to have too rich a repertoire of bowling resources and that means centuries and 50s are expected to flow non-stop from Indian blades.