After the successful triumph down under Team India are set to take on the Kiwis in New Zealand. India will be facing New Zealand in five One Day Internationals starting on and from 23rd January 2019. 

With the current form, it is expected from Indians to conclude another successful series in New Zealand. There are still a few areas that India have to work on in the series, especially keeping the bigger stage in mind.

4. Rohit Sharma Against New Zealand

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Rohit Sharma had an outstanding ODI series against Australia with a score of 185 runs in just three ODI. He is in good form and provided a strong start to the Indian innings. But individually his stints with New Zealand have not been very good till now. Since 2009 Rohit has faced New Zealand five times and scored 533 runs in 16 innings at an average of 35.53 which is his second-lowest average against a team in ODIs after South Africa.

His two previous tours to New Zealand do not have fond memories either. This time individually he will face a challenge to change this record against New Zealand. Moreover, with World Cup knocking at the door, it will be important to perform really well in this series to make the team more settled. Facing new ball against Tim Southee will make his job tougher and watching Rohit Sharma dealing with the whole situation will be interesting.

Also Read: 5 lesser known facts about Rohit Sharma

3. India’s Middle Order Perforate

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Although India’s top order with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli looks solid, the middle order is still not very stable. To find a balanced set for the middle order India tried with different combinations in the recently concluded Australia series. They trusted Ambati Rayadu for the number four spot based on his good performance in last IPL and home series against West Indies.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t produce any decent showing and had to be replaced by Kedar Yadav. Yadav made the most of the opportunity and seemed promising enough to seal a spot in the middle order. At least for the New Zealand series, Yadav can be tried more to solve the issue before World Cup 2019. As a finisher, Dinesh Karthik did well in the limited chances he got. With some good knocks in the New Zealand series, he can be another answer to the worry. MS Dhoni is back in form and hopefully, he will be able to continue this even in the upcoming counter with New Zealand. Indian team should put an end to Dhoni’s batting position. The team should at least find an answer to this. With Ambati Nayadu as a backup option, Dhoni-Kedar-DK can be India’s 4-5-6 in the batting line up. Indian team management have to solve this riddle soon and utilize New Zealand series as a preparation stage for World Cup and should try to fix everything during this tournament.

2. Bowling Combination

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With around 10 world class bowlers with everyone offering something different, Indian bowling department looks solid like never before. For New Zealand series since Jasprit Bumrah is not available Khaleel Ahmed and Vijay Shankar will be tested and will get ample chances to prove themselves. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami are the easy choices and have fixed their spots in the playing eleven now.

Bhuvi’s form in ODI series against Australia will be a relief for India whereas Shami will be there to provide support. It will be really tough to choose between Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Kuldeep showed his worth in the first two ODIs against Australia and Chahal made the most of the third ODI after getting chance. Both are wrist spinners, attacking and powerful. This will be a nice headache for the team management to choose the right option. But again, men in blue have to finalize on any one of them to seal their preferred playing eleven for the mega tournament in the United Kingdom.

1. The 6th Bowler

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During early 2000, Indian squad used to have part-timers like Sehwag, Ganguly, Tendulkar, and Yuvraj who could ball decently in case a primary bowler having a bad day. But in the current team, this part is lacking. None of the top orders like Kohli, Rohit, Dhawan, DK works as a part-time bowler regularly.

Among the current squad, only Kedar Jadhav has bowled regularly in ODIs and hence for India it is important that all 5 bowlers deliver in every match which is an absurd imagination. It is important to find out minimum one part-time bowler for the Indian team for a balanced team. A team cannot survive long without part-time bowlers and Indian team should work on this issue seriously for the series and definitely for the big tournament approaching.

Probable Playing XI For India In First ODI Against New Zealand

Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Vijay Shankar/ Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal / Kuldeep Yadav

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