Two days in Kanpur: limited preparation for the Black Caps before the Indian test challenge

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Two days in Kanpur.

That’s how long the entire Black Caps test team spent together leading up to the toughest game they’ve had all year – the first of two tests against India.

Nine of them have been training together since arriving from New Zealand two weeks ago. That rose to 11, when captain Kane Williamson and crimper Kyle Jamieson missed the Twenty20 series between the two nations. It now stands at 15, with Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee also on deck.

New Zealand Cricket

Black Caps Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville haven’t played red ball cricket in months, but that should change when the first test in India begins.

All are available for selection for the first test, coach Gary Stead said Tuesday morning. There is no injury issue or workload issue.

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Trent Boult is not there, having decided it is time to go home and avoid another fortnight in a bio-secure bubble. Colin de Grandhomme withdrew for the same reason. Joined them when Devon Conway broke his hand in the Black Caps’ semi-final victory over England in the T20 World Cup.

India also lacks big names. Captain Virat Kohli will miss the first test at Green Park Stadium, while fellow drummer Rohit Sharma, wicket keeper Rishabh Pant and couturiers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will miss this match and the second at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

All five played when the two teams met in the first World Trials Championship final in England in June. Boult and Conway also did it for the victorious New Zealand team. The revenges – which are part of the next two-year cycle of the competition – will be different.

Not just because of the staff. These two countries met in New Zealand in February 2020, where conditions were favorable for the seams and the Black Caps won 2-0. Seam conditions were favorable, albeit slightly less, in England in June. This time around, they’ll be spin-friendly, barring the biggest shock ever, and that’s why India is preferred to win the final act of the trilogy, if you want to call it that, 2-0.

There have been 44 tests played in India over the past 10 years, resulting in 34 wins for the hosts, six draws and four wins for the visiting teams – two by England in 2012 and one again this year, the other by Australia in 2017.

There have been 101 this century, resulting in just 13 victories for visiting teams.

During this time it was only more difficult to win in Australia. India has taken the lead over the past decade, closely followed by New Zealand, where the visiting teams contested 41 tests and won just four.

Since Stead took the helm in 2018, the Black Caps have also won twice against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (for a 2-1 series victory), Sri Lanka (in a 1-1 draw) and England (for a series 1-0 win, their first there in 22 years). The only flaw was their test tour in Australia two summers ago, where they were shut out 3-0.

It’s a different challenge. A harder one. Expectations were high then, as the Black Caps looked for their first test victory on Australian soil since 2011 and their first series victory since 1985. They are lower now, as they prepare to play. in a country where they have lost six games in a row. , has not won since 1988, and has never won a series.

Stead said on Tuesday that the very different conditions in the two countries meant there was not much to take from Australia’s failure “on the fast inflatable wickets” in India, where they expect. to “a rotating trial”, with Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel presenting the prosecution case.

He said the lack of prep time was what it was and that they were as prepared as they could get. But he noted that India is also entering this series after the T20 World Cup, so “I hope she’s in a similar boat to where we are now”.

Once the first test has started on Thursday [first ball 5pm NZ time] we will see who is in charge of this boat, in a sea that will inevitably be rough. Stead had not seen the pitch when he spoke on Tuesday and said the key question would be how dry he was.

This will determine the lineup of the Black Caps XI, where questions revolve around the makeup of the bowling attack – who plays like a versatile, and what frontline crimper is missing, if so – and Conway’s replacement at the top of the order, a role that Will Young is preferred to fill.


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