For overseas teams coming to India, the word “spin” whirls all through their stay. In hot and dry conditions here, they wait for the ball to either spin or reverse swing.
Kiwi coach Mike Hesson and his boys, too, don’t expect any surprises in store. While they acknowledge that they would have to bat well to negotiate the Indian spinners, they are confident their bowlers are “more than capable”.
The Indian spin trio of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, left-armer Ravindra Jadeja and leg-spinner Amit Mishra, would be itching to bowl at the Green Park Stadium here. The ground has a history of spinner-friendly tracks. The venue would be hosting a Test match after seven years when Sri Lanka lost by an innings in four days.
New Zealand have never won a Test series in India and Hesson promised they would be giving the Indians a hard time.
“We have won two Test matches in our history here. So we know it is a tough place to come and win, as it is for any touring side. And India are playing good cricket at the moment, but we have got a group of cricketers who will be highly competitive. That’s our challenge. To be highly competitive and stay in the game for long periods of time. Then anything can happen,” Hesson said.
“They have got three excellent spinners. Some of their part-timers are more than useful. So we will get a barrage of that. We will also get a barrage of swing with the new ball and reverse swing. We will have to bowl wells. We are more than capable of bowling good balls.”
Hesson was confident the variety of their “fearless” spin attack - comprising left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and off-spinner Mark Craig - could deliver the goods against the fancied Indians.
“We have talented spinners who don’t have as much experience. Sometimes it is a good thing. You don’t have fear. We saw the way we operated in the T20 World Cup. We opened the bowling with spin as well. If there is assistance for spin, we can create opportunities. Our three spinners have spent a lot of time talking, a lot of time making little subtle adjustments to be as effective as we can in these conditions.”
Hesson also believed they were capable of adapting on any surface. “We have got an idea how we think how the surface might play, but it might be quite different. We are capable of adapting.
“To play a full three-day warm-up game in Delhi, to have two-three days training in Delhi, and a couple here, it is probably as good a preparation you get for any tour. The conditions here are slightly different than they were in Delhi,” he said.
“We won’t be surprised if one or two spinners opened with the new ball during the series. We are prepared for it, we have faced it, but dealing with it out in the middle is quite a different story.”