India have been touring New Zealand since the late 1960s. In 6 decades of India’s travelling to New Zealand, their most successful one was their maiden tour in 1968 where they won 3 of the four Tests and took the series 3-1. Since then, believe it or not, India have managed to beat New Zealand in New Zealand only twice in more than 50 years. Their last victory came in 2009 in Hamilton, when India won a Test series in New Zealand for only the second time. 23 Tests matches, 5 wins, 8 losses and 10 draws – it is not the worst of records considering India’s iffy numbers away from the subcontinent but it is certainly not one to be proud of. Ahead of the series-opening first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Friday, India skipper Virat Kohli was confident to change all that.
“We have prepared in a manner where our fitness levels and concentration levels are such that we can compete against anyone in the world,” Kohli said. “That’s the kind of confidence we will carry into this series.”
The India’s last full tour to New Zealand in 2014, they lost the two-match Test series 1-0 with the last Test being dominated by a Brendon McCullum triple ton. But Kohli, the leader of the No.1 ranked Test side, was quick to point the power of the current Indian side.
“We are not the same team that we used to be. We have a very complete squad now.”
It has been an all-or-nothing tour for Kohli and Co. They whitewashed New Zealand 5-0 in the T20Is but got blanked 3-0 in the ODIs.
“They’re very skilled bowlers and batsmen and brilliant fielders so they don’t give a lot to bank on or pounce on. You need to be wary of the chances that come your way and be focused enough to capitalize,” said Kohli.
New Zealand have a terrific record at Wellington but they come on the back of a 3-0 whitewash against Australia in Australia. But Kohli feels that it would hardly matter when his side locks horns with the Kiwis.
“It can happen. Kane’s leadership was questioned and these things pop up pretty quickly. Having been in those situations myself I can tell you it’s not that alarming for any team.
“Things can turn around pretty quickly. You saw in the ODI series we lost 3-0 and it didn’t look that way before we started. If you gain momentum at the right time you can play good cricket.
“Playing at home they will have more control over what they do as a group so they will understand their plans much better.”