Rohit Sharma hopes to do well in the upcoming tour of New Zealand which will begin on January 24. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
2020 is a very important year for the Indian cricket team. They have two tough tours of New Zealand and Australia while they will be hoping to break their jinx in ICC events by clinching the World T20 which will be played in October in Australia. For Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team, they will be hoping to continue their great run in bilateral tournaments and their first mission is the tour of New Zealand. India are touring New Zealand for a full series for the first time in 10 years but on their recent visit in 2014, India were hammered 0-4 in the ODIs and they lost the Test series 0-1. However, in the five-match ODI and Twenty20 International series which was held in 2019, India won the ODIs 4-1 but lost the T20Is 1-2.
Speaking on the upcoming tour, Rohit Sharma said that India will not take New Zealand lightly despite getting whitewashed 0-3 in the recent series in Australia. "They come up with plans and stick to them. It's one thing to make a plan without being able to execute it and another to make a plan and implement it to the T. That makes a lethal bowling combination. New Zealand is not the easiest place to play cricket. Last time, we lost the Test series (0-1) but we gave a good fight. But this bowling attack of ours is completely different from what we had back then," Rohit said.
New Zealand have the likes of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner who have been the pillars of their bowling line-up. While Southee and Boult are the leading new-ball bowlers in the world, Wagner was impressive in the Tests against Australia taking 17 wickets in three games. Southee took nine wickets in the Perth Test and he, along with Boult, have a great record against India. Rohit is aware that the ball might swing and seam much more outside India but the home series against South Africa last year was a welcome change in terms of what one expected of sub-continental tracks.
"Facing the new ball in any conditions is not that easy. Of course, it's lot tougher outside India. But then, we played three Test matches against South Africa and I have never seen the ball swing so much in India like it did in Pune (second Test). The first few overs that they (SA) bowled, the pitch was damp and so they got pretty much everything out of it. In Ranchi (where he got a double hundred) also, we were three down in no time. But I know what to expect as I have been there the last time (2014 series). Not the easiest of conditions but I will be ready for that challenge," Rohit added.
India's six-year drought at the ICC events does bother Rohit, who is hopeful that things will change for the better as soon as the younger crop of cricketers play together for a considerable amount of time. "Things are changing now. Shreyas (Iyer) is No.4 now and he is doing pretty well. Rishabh (Pant) did well in the West Indies ODIs. Shivam (Dube) has started doing well. So, I am confident, our youngsters will step up. The problem is that between KL (Rahul), Rishabh, Shreyas and Shivam, they haven't played many matches together as a team. But that will happen now and once that happens, they will get some confidence," Rohit said. The first match between India and New Zealand will take place on January 24. The tour will include five Twenty20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Tests in Wellington and Christchurch.