After Overcoming Sri Lanka & Australia, the Kiwi Challenge Awaits Men in Blue

Four wins, one loss and two series victories – it has been a good start to the new decade for Team India. A good showing against Sri Lanka and Australia were just what the side would have been hoping for before they embark on their toughest test yet, against New Zealand in their own.

The year started off with an abandoned T20I, the first of three against their southern neighbours. But as was the popular prediction, the visitors were no match for the home side as the Men in Blue registered dominating wins at Indore & Pune to clinch the series.

Having won the ODI series back in 2019, Australia were always going to be a tough proposition for Virat Kohli’s side in the three-match ODI series. While the hosts were pipped as slight favourites, Aaron Finch’s side evened the odds by handing out a 10-wicket hammering in Mumbai. But India responded well in the following two fixtures, registering a 36-run win at Rajkot and a seven-wicket win in Bengaluru to seal the hard-fought series.

The Blackcaps – A Tough Challenge

Kohli’s men will now move on to their biggest highlight in the first quarter - the tour of New Zealand, starting this Friday (January 24). India take on the Kiwis in 5 T20Is – a much-needed preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup later in the year, a three-match ODI series, capped off by a two-match Test series with 120 World Test Championship points up for grabs.

The Kiwis were on the wrong side of a few one-sided games against the Aussies, but one shouldn’t read too much into that. There is no doubt that the Blackcaps are a fiercely competitive side and a tough nut to crack at home.

The New Zealand tour will be India’s most testing tour since their series Down Under in 2018-19. But unfortunately, injuries have upset India’s preparation for the series even before they took off.

Marred by Injuries

Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the limited-over internationals by the BCCI on Tuesday after results of the assessment on his left shoulder revealed to a Grade II injury. Gabbar had hurt his shoulder while fielding during the final ODI against the Aussies and had not come out to bat in the run-chase. He was later seen in a sling during the post-match presentation.

The southpaw was in spectacular form since his return to international action post his knee injury, registering scores of 32, 52, 74 and 96 across formats. His presence at the top will be sorely missed by the Indian side.

In addition to this, Ishant Sharma rolled over his ankle in the Ranji Trophy fixture against Vidarbha. It looks likely that the pacer will be sidelined for a significant amount of time and miss the Test series.

The 31-year-old has been one of the mainstays in the bowling department during India’s recent success in the format and his absence will leave a massive void.

Prithvi Shaw Earns a Call-up

Prithvi Shaw will be elated about his call-up to the ODI squad. The youngster has been in fine form since his return and has been rewarded for the runs. His incredible 150 against New Zealand XI in the first warm-up fixture was timely and certainly caught the selectors’ attention. Prithvi Shaw will be pumped and raring to show what he is capable of if provided with an opportunity.

Squads and Schedule

BCCI are yet to name the Test squad. Barring the absence of Ishant, regular features Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane will be eager to get back into national colours for the first time this year.

India have not won a Test series in New Zealand for over a decade – a record they would like to erase next month.

While Kohli’s men did secure an ODI series win last time they toured New Zealand, they were beaten in the T20Is, which they will look to rectify as the countdown continues to the 2020 T20 World Cup.

Squads

India

T20Is: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Sanju Samson, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur

ODIs: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Kedar Jadhav

Tests: Yet to be announced 

New Zealand

T20Is: Kane Williamson (C), Hamish Bennett, Tom Bruce (T20Is 4-5), Colin de Grandhomme (T20Is 1-3), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee

ODIs: Yet to be announced

Tests: Yet to be announced 

Full Schedule:

T20Is

1st T20I – Auckland

January 24, 12:20 PM IST

2nd T20I – Auckland

January 26, 12:20 PM IST

3rd T20I – Hamilton

January 29, 12:30 PM IST

4th T20I – Wellington

January 31, 12:30 PM IST

5th T20I – Tauranga

February 2, 12:30 PM IST

ODIs

1st ODI – Hamilton

February 5, 7:30 AM IST

2nd ODI – Auckland

February 8, 7:30 AM IST

3rd ODI – Tauranga

February 11, 7:30 AM IST

Tests

1st Test – Wellington

February 21-25, 4:00 AM IST

2nd Test – Christchurch

February 29 – March 4, 4:00 AM IST 

After Overcoming Sri Lanka & Australia, the Kiwi Challenge Awaits Men in Blue

Four wins, one loss and two series victories – it has been a good start to the new decade for Team India. A good showing against Sri Lanka and Australia were just what the side would have been hoping for before they embark on their toughest test yet, against New Zealand in their own.

The year started off with an abandoned T20I, the first of three against their southern neighbours. But as was the popular prediction, the visitors were no match for the home side as the Men in Blue registered dominating wins at Indore & Pune to clinch the series.

Having won the ODI series back in 2019, Australia were always going to be a tough proposition for Virat Kohli’s side in the three-match ODI series. While the hosts were pipped as slight favourites, Aaron Finch’s side evened the odds by handing out a 10-wicket hammering in Mumbai. But India responded well in the following two fixtures, registering a 36-run win at Rajkot and a seven-wicket win in Bengaluru to seal the hard-fought series.

The Blackcaps – A Tough Challenge

Kohli’s men will now move on to their biggest highlight in the first quarter - the tour of New Zealand, starting this Friday (January 24). India take on the Kiwis in 5 T20Is – a much-needed preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup later in the year, a three-match ODI series, capped off by a two-match Test series with 120 World Test Championship points up for grabs.

The Kiwis were on the wrong side of a few one-sided games against the Aussies, but one shouldn’t read too much into that. There is no doubt that the Blackcaps are a fiercely competitive side and a tough nut to crack at home.

The New Zealand tour will be India’s most testing tour since their series Down Under in 2018-19. But unfortunately, injuries have upset India’s preparation for the series even before they took off.

Marred by Injuries

Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the limited-over internationals by the BCCI on Tuesday after results of the assessment on his left shoulder revealed to a Grade II injury. Gabbar had hurt his shoulder while fielding during the final ODI against the Aussies and had not come out to bat in the run-chase. He was later seen in a sling during the post-match presentation.

The southpaw was in spectacular form since his return to international action post his knee injury, registering scores of 32, 52, 74 and 96 across formats. His presence at the top will be sorely missed by the Indian side.

In addition to this, Ishant Sharma rolled over his ankle in the Ranji Trophy fixture against Vidarbha. It looks likely that the pacer will be sidelined for a significant amount of time and miss the Test series.

The 31-year-old has been one of the mainstays in the bowling department during India’s recent success in the format and his absence will leave a massive void.

Prithvi Shaw Earns a Call-up

Prithvi Shaw will be elated about his call-up to the ODI squad. The youngster has been in fine form since his return and has been rewarded for the runs. His incredible 150 against New Zealand XI in the first warm-up fixture was timely and certainly caught the selectors’ attention. Prithvi Shaw will be pumped and raring to show what he is capable of if provided with an opportunity.

Squads and Schedule

BCCI are yet to name the Test squad. Barring the absence of Ishant, regular features Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane will be eager to get back into national colours for the first time this year.

India have not won a Test series in New Zealand for over a decade – a record they would like to erase next month.

While Kohli’s men did secure an ODI series win last time they toured New Zealand, they were beaten in the T20Is, which they will look to rectify as the countdown continues to the 2020 T20 World Cup.

Squads

India

T20Is: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Sanju Samson, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur

ODIs: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Kedar Jadhav

Tests: Yet to be announced 

New Zealand

T20Is: Kane Williamson (C), Hamish Bennett, Tom Bruce (T20Is 4-5), Colin de Grandhomme (T20Is 1-3), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee

ODIs: Yet to be announced

Tests: Yet to be announced 

Full Schedule:

T20Is

1st T20I – Auckland

January 24, 12:20 PM IST

2nd T20I – Auckland

January 26, 12:20 PM IST

3rd T20I – Hamilton

January 29, 12:30 PM IST

4th T20I – Wellington

January 31, 12:30 PM IST

5th T20I – Tauranga

February 2, 12:30 PM IST

ODIs

1st ODI – Hamilton

February 5, 7:30 AM IST

2nd ODI – Auckland

February 8, 7:30 AM IST

3rd ODI – Tauranga

February 11, 7:30 AM IST

Tests

1st Test – Wellington

February 21-25, 4:00 AM IST

2nd Test – Christchurch

February 29 – March 4, 4:00 AM IST 

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