Gary Stead said the two-game test series on Indian soil will be a big challenge for the team despite India missing some of its big names. This series will be their first assignment in the new round of the World Test Championship 2021-23 after winning the first edition in June of this year.
The Kiwis will play a series of three T20I matches, starting November 17 in Jaipur. The test series will follow shortly thereafter, starting November 25 in Kanpur. India won two test series in New Zealand, the first in 1968 under Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi 3-1 and the second in 2009 under MS Dhoni for 1-0. On the other hand, the Blackcaps have yet to win a series of tests in India.
“They are still very, very strong,” said Stead from Dubai after the Twenty20 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 training.
“They are obviously guys who have performed really, really well for them for the past three or four years.”
“We know it will be a big challenge there,” added the 49-year-old.
The runners-up of the 2021 T20 World Cup will miss the left arm pacer services Trent Boult and handyman Colin de Grandhomme citing biobubble fatigue, while opening hitter Devon Conway broke his hand.
Stead added that the new faces on the team will add a different dynamic and the series will be their first opportunity to begin their journey to defend the title.
“(But) we have some new guys, who will be nice and fresh, and maybe add a different dynamic to the team.”
The series will include the first match between countries in the longest format since New Zealand beat India to win the inaugural World Test Championship in June.
“This is our first chance … to go out and see how we can go back to the final and defend what we won six or seven months ago,” added the former New Zealand cricketer.
The second game of the series will be played in Mumbai from 3 December.