'Kohli is one of the best there is'

'Kohli is one of the best there is'

Hoping that Indian batsmen would be flummoxed by in-form leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum on Wednesday resisted the “temptation” to have four seamers and named an unchanged team for the first Test of the two-match series.

New Zealand named an unchanged XI from the side that beat the West Indies recently to face India in the first Test.

“We are naming an unchanged eleven, which is reward for the consistency we have shown against the West Indies,” said McCullum.

“There’s always that temptation to play four seamers on a green pitch but it’s a tough ask on your number three batsman to go in as your first spinner. Also Ish (Sodhi) has done a pretty good job and as a wrist spinner, even if the pitch doesn’t offer a great deal of spin, he should be able to get something out of it,” he added in the pre-match press conference.

The Eden Park pitch has a lively tinge of green and the Ludhiana-born leg-spinner Ish Sodhi will face his toughest challenge yet when he plays against India in this Test.
“It’s got a decent covering of grass, albeit funny looking grass at one end. It looks hard as well so we expect a bit more bounce than what there was against England (in March 2013) and hopefully there’s a bit of pace as well. I don’t expect a huge amount of sideways movement but there may just be enough,” he said.

The Indian batting line-up is short on experience in Test cricket with the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar in late November. Even though the transformed line-up put up a good display in the previous tour to South Africa, it did not evoke the same fear as the past batting line-ups used to.

“They are very good players and a lot of them are proven players. They’re not the Tendulkars, Laxmans or Dravids, but they’re outstanding in their own right. Virat Kohli is one of the best players in the world,” McCullum said.

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