India when compared to hosts New Zealand, are a team that has evolved off late. The teams have got their share of experience and with it, India have proved themselves as they are number three in the world, a position ahead of their opponents.
India managed only one win when they last visited New Zealand in 2006, the first time the teams had ever played a bilateral ODI series in the Kiwi-land. Now 13 years later, the only remaining players who can link to the tour of 2006 are India's two greatest cricketers Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, and New Zealand's most successful player down the years, Suzie Bates.
The year 2018 was full of extremes for the teams. India enjoyed the series win in South Africa and Sri Lanka, and faced devastating loss in the Asia Cup and the World T20 semi-final, which promises new hope in 2019. New Zealand, on the other hand, have become inconsistent. They have a point to prove to themselves and the rest of the world following their poor results in world tournaments.
Being aware of their challenge that the wickets in New Zealand do not tend to turn as much, Mithali noted that her "spinners do know how to bowl in the areas if they do not get that much of turn. It will be a challenge for them but that is where experience comes as batters also we negotiate different tracks that is what bowlers will do. We definitely look forward to acclimatising to the conditions at the earliest so that it does not post that much thread when we take on the field."
The Indian line-up is supported by Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur, both coming off successful performances in the Women's Big Bash League in Australia, along with the likes of Mithali, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, D Hemalatha, Priya Punia, Punam Raut and Taniya Bhatia, all were amongst the runs in domestic circuit. And Mona Meshram had a fair stint at the warm-up match last week in New Zealand. Spinners Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Ekta Bisht and Deepti will have to work hard as the pitches do not suit their style. Meanwhile, the pace unit comprising Jhulan, Shikha Pandey and Mansi Joshi could be handy.
White Ferns, as the New Zealand team is called, features Suzie who has been assisting her team with the likes of Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu, Leigh Kasperek and Sophie Devine with utmost passion. The team also includes youngsters Amelia Kerr, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Anna Peterson and Hannah Rowe. Meanwhile, Katie Perkins and Lauren Down have been recalled in the hope they will be valuable assets. Katie Martin, the key performer, will miss the series due to work commitments.
Indian eves and White Ferns will lock horns for three ODI, which will points towards the ICC Women's Championship, beginning on January 24 at Napier.
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