The three-match Test series between India and New Zealand is set to start from Sept. 22 in Kanpur, but the Black Caps will feature in a three-day practice game against Mumbai in Delhi before Kane Williamson and co face Virat Kohli and his men at Green Park next week.
This game is going to be of utmost importance for New Zealand, as this is their only competitive practice match. But they might not be happy with the pitch that is in the offing for the match as the 22-yard strip is green, which will act as an obstacle in their preparations with the first Test track set to be a turner in Green Park.
Delhi and District Cricket Association Vice-president Chetan Chauhan stated that this is the first match of the season, and the pitch is, hence, green.
"We don't take instructions from anybody. The host association is responsible for preparing good pitches. This is the first game of the season. That's why the pitches are fresh and green," Cricbuzz quoted Chauhan as saying.
But there is no point talking about the track, as New Zealand will be keen to get some precious playing time in Indian conditions, whether spin or not.
Their batsmen like Martin Guptill, Kane Wiliamson and Tom Latham will look to spend more time in the middle and go into the first Test with runs on their back. Even their bowlers will be keen to get the feel of the SG ball under match conditions as they are acquainted in playing with the Kookabura ball. Even if the spinners including Ish Sodhi, Mitch Santner and Mark Craig do not get purchase from the pitch, they will try to gain confidence from the match.
This match is not only going to be an important one for New Zealand, but also Mumbai, who will be playing their first match of the season. Rohit Sharma, who has not been in the best of forms in Test cricket, was picked for the New Zealand series, and the Mumbai batsman will be keen to score some important runs.
Besides Rohit, all other players will be keen to make an impression against a strong New Zealand team. The Ranji trophy champions will be led Aditya Tare, who will want to come up with some good cricket against the Kiwis.
Squads: Mumbai: Aditya Tare (C), Rohit Sharma, Surya Kumar Yadav, Siddhesh Lad, Kaustubh Pawar, Jay Bista, Sufiyan Shaikh, Arman Jaffer, Parikshit Valsangkar, Vishal Dabholkar, Vijay Gohil, Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr), Tushar Deshpande, Roystan Dias, Harshal Soni.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (C), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.
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