New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has said, on Wednesday, that his team need to come up with different ways to counter spin during the two-match Test series against India, starting from Thursday in Kanpur.
New Zealand last toured India for a Test series back in 2016 and they were troubled by the Indian spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. The Indian spinners are very strong in their home conditions and they bagged 41 wickets in the three-match Test series against New Zealand in 2016.
New Zealand also named a spin-heavy squad for the Test series featuring five spinners including Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville and Mitchell Santner among others.
“We know the strength of the Indian spin bowlers and they have been fantastic for a long period of time. For us, it’s looking to come up with different methods and ways to look to score and trying to be effective and build those partnerships which are important,” Williamson told reporters in a virtual meet ahead of the Kanpur Test, starting November 25.
“Every player’s different, so their ways will be slightly different from one another but no doubt, a lot of thoughts have been going in to try and prepare as well as we can for some of the challenges, we know we are going to face.”
Williamson is certain that spinners will define the series and India are favourites because of playing in their home conditions.
“I am sure throughout the whole series, the spin component will be a definite factor. It’s no different here at Kanpur. I think we played here in the last match in 2016 but things have changed a little bit. It will be about assessing those conditions as quickly as possible and trying to make those adjustments as a side quickly,” he added.
“I suppose on some of these surfaces, the condition of the ball, whether new or old, are definitely big factors. I guess that’s one of the challenges here is when you see the ball spin in such a big way and then the next one goes straight.
“It’s trying to come out with a game plan so as to accommodate that as well as you can while looking to score. A number of teams have come here in the past and faced similar challenges. So, the expectation will be not too different and there will be a large spin component throughout the series. The guys have been trying to prepare as well as they can and are looking forward to that challenge.”
Despite several key players missing from the Indian lineup, Kane Williamson isn’t calling New Zealand favourites to win the Test series. Virat Kohli is rested for the first Test while other senior pros like Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are rested for the entire series. KL Rahul got unfortunate with an untimely injury and will miss the entire Test series.
“No, I don’t think we are favourites. I think one of the biggest strengths of Indian cricket in any format is their depth. We have seen that in a lot of ways over the years. The knowledge of their own conditions is something that is quite unique for touring teams as well,” Williamson said.
“We know the challenge is a big one. For us, it’s focusing on our cricket and how we want to adapt and trying to do well those basics as well as we can and certainly not get too far ahead of ourselves and we are excited to take that challenge head on.”
The first Test match will be played in Kanpur from November 25 with the second Test is scheduled to take place in Mumbai from December 3.