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New Zealand will persist with short-pitched tactics in Tests, says Mike Hesson

Mike Hesson (centre) has warned the Indians to brace for more short-pitched stuff in the upcoming Test series © Getty Images
Mike Hesson (centre) has warned the Indians to brace for more short-pitched stuff in the upcoming Test series © Getty Images

By Chetan Narula

Whangarei: Feb 1, 2014

The Indian batting frailties against short-pitched bowling stood exposed in the One-Day International (ODI) series and New Zealand coach Mike Hesson, on Saturday, said that the Kiwis will continue with the tactic even in the upcoming Test series starting February 6.

The Kiwi bowlers sent down some short stuff, aided by the longer square boundaries, as the Indian batsmen fell to their habit of compulsive pulling in the five-match ODI series which the hosts won 4-0.

Hesson said the tactic would be re-used in the two-match Test series.

“Yes, if conditions allow, then absolutely, we will deploy it,” agreed Hesson.

“It is the ability to push guys back and then bowl their natural length, the ability to do that and obviously presenting the seam so that we can find the outside edge. That is the sort of formula that we have had for a while,” he said.

“I think we showed that at the Basin Reserve the last time we played, and the way we forced the West Indies back and got them out, that is something that we will look to continue against India as well,” he added.

As India prepare to start the Test leg of their tour with a two-day tour game here, Hesson said the Black Caps certainly have a spring in their step post the ODI triumph.

“There is definitely some confidence within the group that we can compete with these guys and India are a good side.

But we know it is a different format. We will have a few new faces but we will certainly take some confidence into the series after the ODI series win,” said Hesson.

“Even in our wildest dreams we didn’t think we would win 4-0 against such a quality side. It all went very well as planned but you need quality players to have executed those plans. Players understanding their roles and training for those roles specifically and going out under pressure and being able to execute those plans was the key to our success,” he added.

India were soundly out-classed in all departments throughout the series, while tying one game in Auckland. The Men in Blue are yet to win a game on the tour.

“Even after the tie, we played pretty well. You have to give credit to the way R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja played that day. But we never felt there was a shift in momentum and we always felt we were playing pretty good cricket,” he explained.

“Then, we backed it up in Hamilton on a tough wicket for us against a sub-continent side and that was exceptional.

“Some people considered it to be a dead rubber (the last game in Wellington) but we certainly didn’t. We prepared well for it and were focused today,” said the happy coach after the white-wash.

Even so, India will be hoping for a chance as they have reinforcements coming in, as Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Wriddhiman Saha join the squad.

It was a turning point for them in South Africa earlier and Hesson is wary of the threat these new players pose in the longer format.

“Zaheer and Pujara are extremely well performed players.

“Pujara especially, in the last couple of years when we played against him while we were in India a year, a year-and-a-half ago. He was in his infancy then.

“Today, he looks a high quality player and obviously his record suggests that. Zaheer obviously has been out for a while but he is quite a crafty character especially in conditions that suit him. So it will be a challenge for us,” he said.

The Kiwi batsmen were hardly troubled by the Indian bowlers in the ODIs but Hesson said he respected the visiting attack.

“We have had a good look at the Indian seam attack in the ODIs. Clearly the conditions will be a little different, especially in the first innings of the Tests. The Indian seamers are good bowlers, especially if there is a little bit in the wicket.

“We have got to prepare accordingly, and obviously it will be a change in format so we need to make that shift quickly. Our openers in the Tests are coming off some domestic form, so hopefully they can set the tone for us,” said Hesson.

New Zealand have had a fantastic year in international cricket, except perhaps the tour of Bangladesh, and now pose a great threat to India.

“In Bangladesh, we had a different group of players. The Sri Lanka tour afterwards was really important for us as we introduced a number of new guys there, who did well. We won our first game in a long, long time and that we did with a lot of inexperienced guys.

“Some of them are playing today, some aren’t. But some are sort of pushing underneath, and when we got our full squad back we just saw how good we can be,” he signed off, referring to the 4-0 whitewash as a marker for the upcoming Tests.

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