For a long time now, an India vs New Zealand Test series has never got the fans or the broadcasters excited for a variety of reasons. The timing of the matches in NZ never quite suits the Indian audience, India’s results in NZ’s swinging and seaming conditions haven’t been great and NZ’s results in India’s spin-friendly pitches have pretty much followed the norm.
But perhaps things might just be poised to change. New Zealand’s triumph in the inaugural World Test Championship might just push them to put their best foot forward that little bit more and the fact that their group has been together for a while could allow them to pose a better challenge against a team that has been well nigh unbeatable at home.
The NZ veteran middle-order batter Ross Taylor believes experience will be key in overcoming the challenges of a series in India.
“We’ve gone so many years as underdogs,” said Taylor. “But now coming in as champions: I guess the element of surprise is gone. But any time you play India at home you’re going to be the underdogs, whether you’re No. 1 in the world or where they sit in international cricket at the time. They are resting a couple of players but they’re still a formidable side and know these conditions really well.
Taylor added: “The way we adapt to these conditions is going to be the key going forward. Some of the guys have played many a time here before. We’ll be looking forward to hopefully use that experience to make things slightly easier but we know it’s going to be tough.”
Tough is an understatement. In the last decade, India have played 44 Tests at home. Of those 44, they have won an incredible 34 and lost just 4. It might be fair to say that getting a draw must feel like a win for most teams.
India at home in the last decade
NZ at home in the last decade
New Zealand have also been dominant at home but the challenge for the new world champs will be to start winning away. However, in India, that means getting the better of their spinners. Ashwin Ravichandran and Ravindra Jadeja have made running through sides a habit and one can add Axar Patel and Jayant Yadav to the mix for this series. They all give nothing away.
“Obviously spin plays a major part,” said Taylor. “The new ball, it can do a bit but it can also be the easiest time to score sometimes. India have world-class spinners and know how to set batters up in these conditions. For us, it’s about being able to pick up the lengths as quickly as possible and trusting the defence.”
He added: “When there are a lot of men around the bat, it can be an intimidating place to start your innings but having said that... Getting through those first 10-20 balls is going to be crucial and it’s a bit of a cliche, but things do get easier. But no, it’s going to be a big challenge for us, especially the batting unit.”
|New Zealand in India Test Series||1955/56||India||2-0 (5)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||1964/65||India||1-0 (4)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||1967/68||India||3-1 (4)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||1969/70||drawn||1-1 (3)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||1975/76||drawn||1-1 (3)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||1976/77||India||2-0 (3)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||1980/81||New Zealand||1-0 (3)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||1988/89||India||2-1 (3)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||1989/90||New Zealand||1-0 (3)|
|India in New Zealand Test Match||1993/94||drawn||0-0 (1)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||1995/96||India||1-0 (3)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||1998/99||New Zealand||1-0 (2)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||1999/00||India||1-0 (3)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||2002/03||New Zealand||2-0 (2)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||2003/04||drawn||0-0 (2)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||2008/09||India||1-0 (3)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||2010/11||India||1-0 (3)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||2012||India||2-0 (2)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||2013/14||New Zealand||1-0 (2)|
|New Zealand in India Test Series||2016/17||India||3-0 (3)|
|India in New Zealand Test Series||2019/20||New Zealand||2-0 (2)|
|India v New Zealand Test Match (in England)||2021||New Zealand||1-0 (1)|
NZ in India
|Matches||India Won||NZ Won||Drawn|
India in New Zealand
|Matches||India Won||NZ Won||Drawn|
Dravid’s record as a player against New Zealand was great. He tops the run-scoring charts with 1659 runs in 15 matches and he will hope to find success against the Kiwis as a coach as well.
Sachin Tendulkar also scored some big runs against NZ but he did it over 24 matches. Brendon McCullum plundered runs against the Indians in NZ and the Kiwis will hope to channel his fearless attitude in the upcoming series.
Most runs in Ind vs NZ matches
Richard Hadlee took 65 wickets against India at an average of 22.96 and of those 65, 31 wickets were taken in India at 22.22. He was truly a class apart and his use of cutters allowed him to remain a force in the subcontinent as well.
But it is Ashwin’s numbers that truly stand out in the table below. In just 6 matches, he has taken an incredible 48 wickets. Of those 48, he has taken 40 wickets in just five Tests in India at an incredible average of 15.91.
Most wickets in Ind vs NZ matches
With India missing some key players in the batting department for the series, NZ will have a chance to show what they are truly made of. The key, however, will be to find a way to not just survive but also score runs against India’s spinners. It won’t be enough to just be patient rather Kane Williamson and his team will have to find a way to be aggressive too.
It won’t be easy but if the Kiwis do succeed, it will surely write a new chapter in the rivalry for there is no better way to raise your reputation than to compete well against India in India.