AUCKLAND - India arrived in New Zealand for their first tour in four years Monday, with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni saying he will not be taking the “fantastic” Black Caps lightly. India will play two Tests and five one-dayers against the New Zealanders, in a tour itinerary shortened by one Test and one Twenty 20 due to India’s participation in the Asia Cup in late February.
The tourists’ main interest is likely to be the one-dayers, with the trip allowing them to familiarise themselves with New Zealand conditions ahead of the 2015 World Cup, which the Kiwis will co-host with Australia. Dhoni, whose side is rated number one in the 50-over format compared to New Zealand’s eighth ranking, said India would not underestimate the Black Caps.
“They will be a fantastic side,” he told reporters after the side arrived in Auckland. “They’ve got good bowlers in the side now. I would rather go into the series not taking the New Zealand team lightly. Especially at home, they’ll know the conditions better than us and for some who have not played here it will be a challenge.”
Dhoni was confident India’s one-day attack, which faced criticism after a series loss in South Africa last month, was capable of lifting its performance, particularly in tight situations. “It has been a common question, people always talk about our bowlers getting smashed,” he said. “But we have seen over a period that they have improved, the death bowling has improved.” The first one-dayer will take place in Napier on Sunday.