India eye top Test rank in the upcoming home series against New Zealand

first_imgIt is an ideal scenario for India, who will be looking to get back their top Test position in the world rankings, as they host New Zealand in a bumper test season from Thursday in Kanpur. (Virat Kohli-led Team India will dominate Test cricket for long time: VVS Laxman)India has scheduled 13 Tests in their 2016-17 calendar after being accused of ignoring the long cricket format. It will further help the team’s position in the world ranking for the longest format as all of them have been planned at home. (Virat Kohli isn’t India’s most important player, according to Kapil Dev)Currently, Pakistan holds the top rank in the ICC Test format, a position they took from India after their Trinidad Test against West Indies got washed out.New Zealand will bear the brunt of it as Kane Williamson’s men prepare for a trial by spin over the next three weeks from the world’s number two test team in their three-match series. (New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham ruled out of 1st Test vs India)Making India the top test team was one of the key goals listed in Anil Kumble’s presentation before he landed the head coach’s job but the former spinner has said he is not someone who would call up the curator and order a dustbowl to achieve the target.”No, it is the job of the curator,” Kumble told ESPNcricinfo in a recent interview. (Kapil Dev backs action-packed result-oriented Test matches)”It is a given that home conditions will favour the home team where spin is a dominant force, but not where (from) the first ball you have dust coming off.”advertisementIt did exactly so when they hosted South Africa in their last home series, a four-test rubber, last year. (Exclusive: Ish Sodhi banking on New Zealand’s capability to adapt quickly)Ravichandran Ashwin and his spin partners wreaked havoc on raging turners and the Proteas managed to take a test into the fifth day only once, that too after a record-shattering stonewalling by Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf Du Plessis in Delhi.”It’s a tough place to play, particularly in recent years,” Williamson said on his arrival in India.”The pitches have been very tricky and you throw in world class spinners, the challenge is very tough.” (Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin key as India look to trounce New Zealand)BOWLING HEADACHESContaining an Indian batting line-up, led by a versatile Virat Kohli, would be no less a headache for the tourists who are already short on bowling resources since landing here.Paceman Tim Southee’s ankle injury has robbed them of their most experienced test bowler, while all-rounder Jimmy Neeshan has been ruled out of the Kanpur contest, which will be India’s 500th test match, with a rib injury.Their batting is not in apple-pie order either, with Martin Guptill repeatedly failing to replicate his limited-overs heroics in test arena and Luke Ronchi’s brisk century in the warm-up match in Delhi intensifying their selection dilemma. (Kanpur pitch might assist the spinners, says Ajinkya Rahane)Onus will be on Williamson and Ross Taylor to share their India Premier League (IPL) experience with others to help them familiarise with the conditions, which would be starkly different from what they experienced in their recent tour of South Africa.Taylor suggested going down on bended knees against the Indian spinners, strictly literally though.”Anytime you are playing in the sub-continent you need to be able to play the sweep shot or the cut shot,” the 32-year-old said in Delhi.”A lot of the guys are practising during training and we will talk about it with the team.”With Reuters input.last_img

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