The Men in Blue, fresh off a successful limited overs series against Sri Lanka, now gear up to welcome the Kiwis to their home turf for a thrilling encounter. With KL Rahul and Axar Patel unavailable due to personal commitments, the Indian team has called up KS Bharath and Shahbaz Ahmed to bolster their squad. The New Zealand side, too, will be without the services of their experienced duo of Kane Williamson and Tim Southee, as they have been given rest.
As the teams gear up for the series, all eyes will be on the leadership of Rohit Sharma and the new skipper of the New Zealand side, Tom Latham. Both will be looking to register a win on their respective home turfs. The series also holds added significance for the Indian team as they gear up for the all-important ODI World Cup, to be held on their home soil.
As the competition heats up, here are five players to keep an eye on in the ODIs –
Number 1. Glenn Phillips
Glenn Phillips shone for New Zealand in the ODI series against Pakistan’s Men in Green. With a strike rate of 100.00, the right-handed hitter contributed 103 runs in three games. He was a finisher in the final match at Karachi’s National Stadium, scoring 63 runs off 42 deliveries.
With his brilliant performance, New Zealand won the thriller by two wickets and the series by 2-1. Similarly, the Black Caps will want him to demonstrate his hitting ability in India. On the other hand, India will be cautious of him since the flamboyant hitter may come down hard on their bowlers.
Phillips’ contribution to New Zealand’s victory over the hosts in the crucial ODI series will be critical. He didn’t have a chance to face Indian bowlers in the ODIs last year during the home series against India. The same may not happen in the next bilateral series, and the squad may need his match-finishing abilities more than ever before.
Number 2. Michael Bracewell
Michael Bracewell will be an important element in the forthcoming clash with the Men in Blue. His task as an all-arounder will be to boost all sectors in the games. So far, in 13 innings in 16 One-Day Internationals, he has scored 322 runs with a strike rate of 107.33. He is also a wicket-taking and economical bowler for the Black Caps.
The 31-year-old has 14 wickets in 16 innings at an astounding economy rate of 4.83. So far, he has only played one One-Day International (ODI) against India, in which he bowled two overs. In the forthcoming series, he hopes to wow the viewers with his all-around abilities. He will try to outclass batsmen with his off-break bowling on India’s shifting surfaces.
He was brilliant for his squad in the just finished ODI series against Pakistan, hunting four batsmen in three matches at an economy of 3.90. However, he was ineffective for the squad, scoring just 58 runs in three games with a strike rate of 93.54. In the next series, he will bet on himself to regain his hitting form as well.
Number 3. Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal, India’s ace leg-spinner, had a series to forget against Sri Lanka. Following a disappointing T20I series, Chahal was expected to come back strong in the three-match ODI series. However, things did not pan out as expected for the 32-year-old, who failed to make an impact on the field.
In the opening ODI at Guwahati, Chahal bowled an expensive spell of 10 overs, conceding 58 runs and taking only one wicket. After his poor performance, the team management decided to replace him with Kuldeep Yadav in the second ODI at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
As India gear up for their upcoming ODIs against New Zealand, Chahal will look to bounce back and regain his confidence using his superb bowling skills and vast experience. Over the course of his seven-year ODI career, Chahal has claimed 119 wickets in 71 matches at an economy of 5.26. The Indian team will look to his experience and skills to deliver the goods against the Kiwis.
Number 4. Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav bowled well against Sri Lanka in the second One-Day International at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. He gave up 51 runs and trapped three hitters in his 10-over performance. He took three crucial opponents’ wickets (Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, and Dasun Shanaka) to put his side in a dominating position.
With his outstanding bowling performance, India finished Sri Lanka’s innings on 215 in 39.4 overs. Yadav has taken advantage of his latest opportunity. Last October, he was outstanding with the ball in an ODI series against South Africa at home. He was India’s leading wicket-taker, with six in three matches.
Yadav will try to maintain his excellent bowling form in the three One-Day Internationals against New Zealand. The 28-year-old will also play an important role for India, who will rely on him to reinforce their spin assault. His total ODI bowling record of 122 wickets in 74 ODIs at an economy of 5.19 would also instil confidence in the squad.
Number 5. Rohit Sharma
The year 2022 was a challenging one for Indian cricket team’s skipper, Rohit Sharma, as he struggled to meet the high expectations of Indian fans both as a batter and as a captain. After a series loss to Bangladesh, Sharma faced intense criticism for his poor captaincy. However, the Indian supporters were eager to see the star opener start the year 2023 on a positive note, and he did just that with a commanding 83 runs off 67 balls in the first ODI in Guwahati.
The Indian skipper looked in complete control in the match, as his innings was studded with nine fours and three sixes. He also made a solid start in the second ODI, scoring 17 runs off 21 deliveries. However, the 35-year-old will be tested in the upcoming series against New Zealand.
Against the potent bowling attack of New Zealand, Sharma’s responsibility will be to provide strong starts to the team. In his previous 24 ODIs against the Black Caps, Sharma has amassed 703 runs, including one century and four fifties, at a strike rate of 77.42. In the three-match ODI series, he will be looking to enhance his home batting record and lead his team to victory.