Having clinched the rain-affected T20I series against New Zealand 1-0, Team India will now look to make a significant impact in the upcoming one-day series as well. The Men in Blue and the Kiwis will face-off in three ODIs from November 25 to November 30. The first match will be played in Auckland, the second in Hamilton and the final one in Christchurch.
While the one-dayers took a backseat for a majority of 2022 since the teams were preparing for the T20 World Cup in Australia, the focus will now shift towards the build-up to the 2023 ODI World Cup in India. Both Team India and New Zealand will look at the upcoming series as a starting point towards their preparations for the ICC event.
The pacers of both teams will have a key role to play in the one-day series, keeping the pitches and the conditions in mind. However, the performances of the slow bowlers could also make a difference. On that note, let’s analyse three reasons why India’s spin bowling department is better than New Zealand’s.
#1 India possess two quality wicket-taking spinners
Team India have two proven wicket-takers in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the spin department. Once an inseparable part of the Men in Blue’s white-ball squads, KulCha’s fortunes have dipped in recent years. But both players have made an impressive comeback after a disappointing phase.
Chahal may have warmed the benches during India’s T20 World Cup campaign, but he made an instant impact on his return to the T20I squad against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui. As for Kuldeep, the last time India played a one-day game, he was the Player of the Match for his figures of 4/18 against South Africa in Delhi in October.
Before that, the left-arm spinner had an excellent IPL 2022 campaign as well for the Delhi Capitals (DC), claiming 21 wickets in 14 matches. In case India decide to go with two spinners, Chahal and Kuldeep are capable of making an impact, even if the conditions are not conducive to spin. Even if only one of the two plays, India will still be reasonably strong in the spin department.
#2 Mitchell Santner’s strength is keeping things tight
In comparison to KulCha, New Zealand’s lead spinner Mitchell Santner is not an attacking option. The left-arm slow bowler does a decent job for the team and is well aware of his limitations. The 30-year-old, who has played 84 one-dayers, is good at keeping things tight, but not so effective at claiming wickets.
In his ODI career so far, he has claimed 86 scalps at an average of 36.16 and an economy rate of 4.81. The numbers make it aptly clear that Santner’s strength lies in keeping the runs down and not in picking up wickets on a consistent basis.
(You may want to consider his stats against India in ODIs – He has taken 10 wickets in 15 matches against India at an average of over 50 with this best being 2/34)
The Indian batters, Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer in particular, might look to attack him and throw him off his line. In such a scenario, it would be interesting to see how Santner responds to the challenge thrown at him.
#3 Sundar has a significant edge over Bracewell
Comparing the off-spin options of the two sides, Team India again have the edge. Washington Sundar is a frontline spinner, who has the ability to open the bowling. He has played only a handful of matches due to his constant battles with injury and fitness issues. However, when fit and in rhythm, he is definitely an asset to the team.
In a short international career, Sundar has proved to be someone who likes to keep chipping away at the wickets. In six ODIs, he has claimed eight wickets at an average of 26.88, while in 32 T20Is, he has picked up 26 scalps at a strike rate of 24.35. The more he plays, Sundar is only expected to get better at his skills.
New Zealand have picked Michael Bracewell as their off-spin bowling option. The 31-year-old is more of a batting all-rounder. In 12 ODIs, he has claimed 10 wickets at an average of 39.20. In comparison, he has scored 264 runs with the willow at an impressive average of 44.
The Kiwis have picked limited slow-bowling options for the one-dayers against India, keeping the conditions in mind. But if there is even the slightest of assistance from the surface, Team India’s bowlers are likely to benefit more in comparison to their Kiwi counterparts.