The Telegraph
Saturday , January 18 , 2014
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‘Winning 1st ODI is crucial’

Napier: Ahead of their five-match ODI series against India, New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond has asked his men to rise up to the challenge of facing world’s number one one-day side and put them under pressure by winning the first game, here, on Sunday.

“I think everyone is really excited about this tour by the Indian team. They are a fantastic unit and we are playing at home, in conditions that aren’t really familiar to them. They have some ferocious batsmen. So do we and both sides have good bowlers,” said the former New Zealand fast bowler.

“It will be an interesting contest and I am hoping for a fantastic ODI series, followed up by an equally intriguing Test series,” he added.

New Zealand chief coach Mike Hesson had laid down the challenge to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team whilst asking for bowler-friendly pitches for the upcoming tour, both in ODIs and Tests. “I am always in favour of bowler-friendly pitches being a fast bowler myself,” Bond jested.

“Seriously though, the pitches for ODIs will be more batsmen friendly, firm and hard, with a lot of bounce. Some of them will be drop-in pitches like the one, here, in Napier. So, there won’t be much in them for the bowlers. The grounds in New Zealand are small as well, so the batsmen can make merry especially in limited-overs cricket.

“That’s why it is very important that we win the first game and start this second half of summer well. India have only just arrived here and while they have been doing the net sessions, they haven’t played a game before the first ODI.”