Kohli Admits New Zealand Will Give Tough Challenge

Virat Kohli and Co. recently completed their wonderful tour Down Under against the mighty Aussies. After leveling the T20 series, India won both the Test and ODI series.

After the Australian tour, the Indian skipper revealed that he wants his team to be a superpower in the world of cricket in all three formats. The Men in Blue’s next assignment will be against the Kiwis.

India will play 5 ODIs followed by 3 T20Is against New Zealand. The first ODI will be played at the Mclean Park in Napier on Wednesday. Kohli believes the Kiwis will be the biggest hurdle in his dream of making India a superpower.

This is because Kane Williamson’s team is very well balanced and is recently in good form. Kohli praised the consistency of the Black Caps and said they will India’s biggest challenge.

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The 2014 team was inexperienced

India last toured in New Zealand back in 2014. In that tour, India lost 0-4 in ODIs and 0-1 in Tests. Kohli said that the 2014 Indian team’s batting was weak and inexperienced. This time he has confidence in his team’s batting abilities as they have evolved as a batting unit and is now relatively experienced.

In an interview to Sportstar, Kohli said, “We have noticed a lot of patterns from the previous tours here. Back then (2014), we had an inexperienced side in terms of batting but we have evolved in that department in the last three-four years and are definitely ready to conquer all challenges that are thrown at us.

“The fact that they are the No. 3 ranked side in the world speaks about their consistency. We played them in India and lost in Mumbai. Those matches were quite competitive. I think they have a well-balanced unit. It’s a mix of youth and experience. Their bowling attack is experienced but at the same time, they (bowlers) are not that old. Tim (Southee), for instance, is an experienced seamer but has that energy and the buzz all the time. Plus they play their cricket in the right way which is something we always appreciate.”

Small grounds can lead to huge scores

Kohli has also acknowledged the fact that the games will be mostly high-scoring. This is because the grounds in New Zealand are small in size. Kohli also said not to panic if the opposition scores more than 300.

He also said that there is a possibility of going into the game with three seamers. But the final call will be taken depending on the availability of an all-rounder.

“New Zealand usually has high scoring grounds… so the key is to not panic when the opposition is racking up scores in excess of 300. They are a difficult side to beat at home but we believe in our abilities and will be eyeing a repeat of our results in Australia,” Kohli said.

“It depends on the all-rounder. The strongest sides in the world all have two all-rounders; some even have three. That gives you bowling options to work with. So unless Hardik Pandya or Vijay Shankar doesn’t play, three seamers make sense. If the all-rounders step up, you don’t need a third seamer,” he noted as he signed off.