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New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum wants to attack India with aggressive, hostile bowling

Brendon McCullum believes the first ODI at Napier will be a high-scoring one © Getty Images
Brendon McCullum believes the first ODI at Napier will be a high-scoring one © Getty Images

Napier: Jan 18, 2014

India will have to contend with some hostile and aggressive fast bowling in the first One-Day International (ODI), New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum warned on Saturday.

The hosts have an impressive attack, consisting of five fast bowlers — Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne and James Neesham.

“We are leaning towards a full-pace bowling attack at this stage, but we will take a call only after seeing how everyone pulls through training,” said McCullum at the pre-match press conference.

“It will be quite nice to unleash a bit of pace in this opening game and try and be aggressive and hostile as we can with the ball in hand.”

The captain added that he expected a “pretty big score in this game” even as he has bowlers who can make life tough for the Indian batsmen.

“If we get a quick wicket anywhere, we will look to play Adam Milne. He is young and is slowly gaining experience, but he can really work up good pace that can bring about injuries. We want to use him when the conditions suit him best.

“But we have other options as well, in Kyle Mills and Tim Southee who are more than capable of bowling with the new ball. There is room for an all-pace attack and it is an aggressive bowling line-up. They have played quite a bit of cricket, so we have to manage their work load accordingly.”

This plays on similar intimidation tactics deployed by South Africa previously, although McCullum was a bit more watchful in his summary of the visiting team. Dale Steyn was the wrecker-in-chief during the ODI and Test series, both of which India lost.

“Dale Steyn is a world-class bowler and has been for a number of years. He’s been successful against pretty much everyone in world cricket. We haven’t got the bowlers at that level yet, who knows what will happen in a couple of years if we keep developing them. In terms of how India responded in South Africa, they still played pretty good cricket at times.

“They are not ranked No 1 for no reason. They are successful and excellent players, and they got to the No 1 ranking after playing well for a particular period of time. We are very respectful of them. But we have got areas where we can attack them. For us to win this series, we have to play our best cricket of the summer,” said McCullum.

While pace is the weapon-of-choice against the Indian batsmen, at the same time, the Kiwi batsmen will be looking to intimidate the visitors’ bowling as well, particularly when their attack is not known to shape up quickly irrespective of conditions.

“Our approach against their bowling depends on the balance they go for. They are accustomed to playing on slower, turning tracks and hopefully they are not going to get that here over the next month or so.

“They rely quite a lot on their spinners and that’s an area we might be able to expose them. But they are also very good bowlers. We have got to feel it out as the series develops and make sure that we are at the top of our game,” said the Black Caps’ captain, himself a ferocious striker of the ball and one of their batting mainstays.

“It will be a balancing act. We were a touch over-aggressive on a couple of occasions against the West Indies. Obviously it is no secret that we are a very dangerous team with 15 overs to go and only a couple of wickets down but at the same time, you can’t waste those first 35 overs.

“We have still got to be proactive in those overs, identify that they are the easiest scoring options than perhaps the death overs at times. So all that stuff unfolds as the game happens but we have a blueprint that we want to play to,” he signed off.

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