Mathew Sinclair believes India’s tour of New Zealand will help them in World Cup preparation

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Mathew Sinclair believes India’s tour of New Zealand will help them in World Cup preparation

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Bastab K Parida

01/22/2019

Former New Zealand No.3 Mathew Sinclair has stated that India will get a fair idea of what to expect in England after completing their NZ tour. To back his idea, Sinclair added that the “green-top” days have already been a thing of past for the NZ cricket, at least in the limited-overs games.

India’s 2-1 series victory against Australia gave the team more questions than answers, however, it may seem otherwise on the stats page. Against an inexperienced Aussie bowling attack, MS Dhoni scored three back-to-back fifties, but his strike rotation was still a problem and how much he lives up to the new-found form in the middle-over still remains to be seen. The absence of Hardik Pandya also disturbed India's plans as they had to bring in Vijay Shankar for the final ODI. All in the all, India had to rely on a completely new combination, which despite looking like a settled one, the World Cup is too close to going with a different strategy than the one they have followed in the last one year. 

From that point of view, the New Zealand tour comes as a significant one for India. They will lock horns with a team that has been in excellent form and has two of the best limited-overs batsman of the modern era - Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill. New Zealand's very good bowling attack may prove to be a double whammy for the Indian batsmen. Former New Zealand No. 3 Mathew Sinclair, who was in Bangalore to coach kids at the VIBGYOR Academy, held the view that the series will provide the Virat Kohli-led team a solid chance to give finishing touches to their World Cup preparations.

“India coming to New Zealand this summer is a pretty good match-up. Ask any Kiwis, what type of game do you want, they would say, they want to play the best and against the best. The current Indian side is certainly one of the best in the world, and it will be a lovely match-up,” Sinclair told SportsCafe in an exclusive interaction.

“The wickets in New Zealand are doing good. Gone are the days when we used to produce green wickets to get the batsmen out, but now we are making wickets to encourage big scores to make a fair competition. The series will be a fantastic opportunity for both the teams as an audition for the World Cup. It is good that India are going to New Zealand and playing different conditions ahead of the World Cup. It is similar to England in a lot of sense, so it would be a very good prep for both the teams.”

Earlier in June 2018, Mike Hesson resigned from his role as the New Zealand coach for personal reasons before taking up the same role in Kings XI Punjab. Hesson was a brilliant tactician and was at the centre of making New Zealand a fine ODI team during his tenure. So when Gary Stead named as Hesson's successor, he had huge shoes to fill. However, it was a role not new to the former Kiwi opener as he had successfully worked with New Zealand's High-performance Centre between 2004 and 2008, and also took over the coach of the Canterbury team in 2012, leading them to four titles in four seasons from 2013-14 to 2016-17. Stead was also a part of Hesson's backroom staff for over a year when he held the batting coach position of the national team in 2016-17. Sinclair, whose debut Test against West Indies in 1999 was the last for Stead, believes that the 46-year-old has it in him to be a good man manager which is important in the context of managing a team now.

“I think Gary Stead’s appointment is a very good one for New Zealand cricket. I played with Gary and against Gary. For him, it is a very good time to come into the team as the likes of Williamson and Taylor have loads of experience with them. More than being a tactician, Gary comes to the team with the job description of being a man manager. Earlier, he had been there and done that. He knows how to bring the best of the players. I think Williamson would form a very good partnership with him.”

With Hesson’s appointment as the coach of KXIP, it has become a clearer trend among the Indian Premier League teams to hire Kiwi cricketers as coaches. While Daniel Vettori had helmed Royal Challengers Bangalore until last year, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming continues to be one of the biggest decision-makers for the franchise. John Wright is directly involved with Mumbai Indians and his cricketing brain unleashed many fine talents like Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mayank Markande among others. The Kiwi influence is hard to miss and Sinclair stated that it is also good for the Indian cricket going forward.

“The availability of international coaches in the IPL environment is good for the Indian cricket because it brings new ideas. Like anything, players and teams need to push themselves for the best of Indian cricket. As long as it serves this purpose, it is good for cricket. The natural sign that the New Zealanders are now started to be looked upon as the world-class players now. The world needs to look at New Zealand now that why they are doing so well,” Sinclair concluded.

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