The New Team Invincible Goes Out To Retain Numero Uno Spot Against NZ

Team India

Team India

Ahmedabad: For any team to beat the Australians in Tests at home or away is a just a dream. India’s 2-0 whitewash of Ricky Ponting’s XI to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was a starter before an action-packed season leading to the 2011 World Cup main course. And for those who want more reasons to celebrate this Diwali, here are some interesting facts to cheer about in the 3 match Airtel India-New Zealand Test series beginning here on Thursday.

Sachin is just 1 century short of notching up his 50th Test ton, Rahul Dravid needs 62 more runs to get to 5, 000 runs on home soil, only 2 more catches will make Dravid the first fieldsman in the annals of Test cricket to get to 200 catches, Daniel Vettori will be playing his 100th Test for New Zealand, and, finally, India will begin the series as worthy leaders in Test cricket with their ruthless mauling of Australia.

The hosts are much ahead in the rat race and while cricket lovers will call the rankings a statistical contrivance to measure how India are better than the rest, the fact is that the expectations and demands of victory are more at home than playing away.

Though India are ready to broadcast their best team against the Black Cats on Thursday, New Zealand will go into the first Test hoping to cash in on the “pressure” that surrounds Dhoni and co. to maintain their numero uno status.

Not much has gone in NZ’s favour recently, while the Daniel Vettori led side is recovering from a 4-0 clean sweep in the ODIs at the hands of Bangladesh, the New Zealand skipper would certainly want to use the India series to get his side on track.

For India, of course, the good news is VVS Laxman, Right arm Fast Ishant Sharma and the Delhi Daredevil Gautam Gambhir are back. The trio had missed the 2nd Test against Australia in Bangalore owing to injuries and their return not only brings balance, but also adds experience to the team.

Both Laxman and Ishant had played a vital role in India’s historic win at Mohali to give 1-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar trophy series. While Laxman battled back spasms to play a valiant knock and bail India out, Ishant, who limped out with a knee injury, contributed together 81 priceless runs with Laxman for a photo finish.

In comparison, NZ have a problem of plenty. While skipper Vettori’s primary duty would be to get the motivation back after their embarrassing loss in Bangladesh, it would be important how quickly the players change their gears to get into Test mode against a team who whitewashed the once called Invincibles – the Aussies. Much would depend on their batsmen like B McCullum, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder and Tim McIntosh as the Motera stadium wicket is notorious for dishing out drab draws.

Just for the record, NZ have not made it to a World Cup final but have been semi-finalists 5 times. Who knows, a win in this series may well be the tipping point in their crusade for 2011’s world title.

Probable Teams

India (probable): Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha

New Zealand (probable): Tim McIntosh, Brendon McCullum, BJ Watling, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Daniel Vettori (capt), Gareth Hopkins (wk), Tim Southee, Andy McKay, Chris Martin

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Devesh Bhuwad

Author:

Hi, I’m Devesh D. Bhuwad from Mumbai. 21 years old, I have completed my BSc from Ruia College, Mumbai and intend to pursue an MBA. Currently I am in search of work as well. Writing was always my hobby since childhood wrote almost on anything but never had the brains to make a blog! And at the same time cricket was my passion. Grew up watching Sachin Tendulkar play, couldn’t be anywhere near to him though! So started writing on Cricket and at the same time other sports like Football, Tennis, Badminton and the very much hyped IPL urged me to write on them as well. And here I am, having found a perfect platform at www.thesportsmirror.com to share my articles to the world as a Freelance Content writer and in a way gain experience of contributing to a newly hosted website rather a venture which I’m sure will definitely help me in the future.

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