India Vs New Zealand: No Virat Kohli, but India look primed to roll on

Never mind the 2007 World Cup, India have been a very good ODI side pretty consistently since the 2003 World Cup.

Never mind the 2007 World Cup, India have been a very good ODI side pretty consistently since the 2003 World Cup. Yet, there is a headiness now that can be compared to the dominant Australians of the 1990s and 2000s, which could pitch an Australia A side in an international tournament and end up making it more competitive. At the moment, former Indian cricketers are asking for another 'superstar' to be introduced in place of the resting superstar.

Imagine the aura of the side: ViratKohli, for all intents and purposes an all-time great of the format, believes he was not 10% the player when he was as old as Shubman Gill. This is four months from the World Cup when a conservative side would not even be thinking of newcomers. For India, Gill may or may not be allowed to present his case; back home Rishabh Pant is keeping the pressure up for incumbents. We are talking about incumbents who have seen the team to 12 series wins in their last 13 bilateral contests. In tournament cricket, they have made two finals of two tournaments in this period, winning one of them. At the other end to this team at the peak of its powers are New Zealand, still holders of the best win-loss record at home since the last World Cup, still serious contenders at the upcoming World Cup, but suddenly unable to respond to a brand of cricket only India seem to be playing in a power-driven sport. Not that New Zealand believe in the philosophy, but what India have can't be bought in a market. Two wristspinners who win by bowling slow, and getting even slower when under pressure. Three top-order batsmen who have outdone by some distance Sehwag, Tendulkar and Ganguly as a combination.

The last time New Zealand lost four matches in a series was back in 2012, but in the West Indies. At home, only Australia (twice) and Sri Lanka have consigned them to the fate. Now they need to find a way to avoid it in the next two games.

Does Colin Munro work in ODIs? Some might call him a poor man's Brendon McCullum, the sharp impact player at the top of the innings as opposed to someone who sets himself up for long innings, a T20 player of sorts to play the first 20 overs as a separate match. In theory, it is a move that tests the limits of the format, but Munro doesn't have the success rate to inspire confidence that this can work at the World Cup. Not blessed with the same human resource as India are, New Zealand have to make some low-percentage moves to try to even out the field. Munro, though, needs flat conditions with the ball not doing much off the straight – both in terms of line and in pace – to come off. Now is about time for New Zealand to decide whether they want to change their plan for the World Cup.

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