Last Sunday, New Zealand were playing the T20 World Cup final against Australia. In a week, they’ve played out a whole three-match T20I in three different Indian cities. While a few players – including regular skipper Kane Williamson – were rested in preparation ahead of the two-match Test series, stand-in captain for the third T20I, Mitchell Santner, underscored the challenge of playing India at home under these circumstances.
“It’s been a challenge. It’s been a quick turnaround from the World Cup. But we pride ourselves on turning up and play some good cricket against a very good Indian side and win a series. It’s tough to do and they showed once again that it’s a tough challenge.
“It was a challenging series. It’s always challenging to come to India and play a really good side. We were good in patches. The challenge for us was to get wickets at the top and we couldn’t throughout the series. But credit the way Rohit and KL batted at the top. We had our chances, but the conditions changed in every game and dew played a major factor. And then again tonight, it was there, but it didn’t get any worse. We were outdone this series but we’re looking forward to the 12 months towards the next World Cup.”
New Zealand will have a full squad for the first Test that is scheduled to be played in Kanpur from November 25. Santner singled out the New Zealand spinners who were looking forward to experiencing conditions that favoured their craft.
“It doesn’t matter what format you come up against India, they’re a tough challenge to beat. We saw that in 2016. Hopefully the boys are ready for the first Test in Kanpur. It’s a quick turnaround again. We have some good spinners, we know spin will play a big part. It’s about just trying to grind out as much as possible,” he said.
“We’ve seen how good Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar Patel can be in these conditions. We’ve got guys like Ajaz and Somerville that are pretty eager to see some spinning wickets as spinners do coming from New Zealand.”
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