New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has said that the upcoming India tour, which is set to begin on November 17, will be a major challenge despite a few senior players missing from the India squad. The Blackcaps are coming off from a thumping eight-wicket loss against Australia in the final of the recently concluded 20-20 World Cup. The BCCI selectors have opted to give rest to a few of senior players like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja due to bio-bubble fatigue from the T20I series. Stead though feels that India are still a strong side and will pose a big challenge.
“They’re still very, very strong,” Stead said from Dubai after the ICC T20 World Cup final.
“When you go to India you traditionally think of spin-friendly wickets and I still see (Ravindra) Jadeja, (Ravichandran) Ashwin, and Axar Patel in their lineup. They are obviously guys that have performed really, really well for them in the past three or four years.”
New Zealand will also be without their few first-choice players like Devon Conway, Trent Boult, and Colin de Grandhomme for the T20I and Test series. Conway is out due to a broken hand, while Boult and Grandhomme have opted out of the series due to bio-bubble fatigue.
There is one silver lining though for Blackcaps as Test regulars Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, and Tom Latham return for the two-match series. Stead admitted it will be a challenge to beat India in India. “We know it’s going to be a big challenge there,” Stead added. “(But) we have some new guys, who will be nice and fresh, and maybe add a different dynamic to the squad.”