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IND vs NZ | We know it's going to be a big challenge in India, says New Zealand head coach Gary Stead

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New Zealand will start their WTC 2021-23 campaign against India on November 25

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IND vs NZ | We know it's going to be a big challenge in India, says New Zealand head coach Gary Stead

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SportsCafe Desk


Gary Stead has said that the two-match Test series on Indian soil will be a big challenge for the team despite India missing some of it’s big names. This series will be their first assignment in the new cycle of the World Test Championship 2021-23 after winning the first edition in June, this year.

The Kiwis will play a three-match T20I series, starting November 17 in Jaipur. The Test series will follow soon after, starting November 25 in Kanpur. India has won two Test series in New Zealand, first in 1968 under Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi by 3-1 and second in 2009 under MS Dhoni by 1-0. On the other hand, the Blackcaps are yet to win a Test series in India.

Meanwhile, India will miss the services of their full time skipper Virat Kohli (for the first game), Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami (for the entire series). Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner and Tom Latham will join the defending champions. Stead believes that the WTC finalists are still a strong side despite not having their big players. 

"They're still very, very strong," Stead said from Dubai after the Twenty20 World Cup final.

"When you go to India, you traditionally think of spin-friendly wickets, and I still see (Ravindra) Jadeja, (Ravichandran) Ashwin and Axar Patel in their lineup.

"They are obviously guys that have performed really, really well for them in the past three or four years."

"We know it's going to be a big challenge there," the 49-year-old added.

The T20 World Cup 2021 runners-up will be missing the services of left-arm pacer Trent Boult and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme citing bio-bubble fatigue, while opening batsman Devon Conway broke his hand. 

Stead added that the new faces in the team will add a different dynamic and the series will be their first opportunity to start their journey to defend the title.

"(But) we have some new guys, who will be nice and fresh, and maybe add a different dynamic to the squad."

The series will include the first meeting between the countries in the longest format since New Zealand beat India to win the inaugural World Test Championship in June.

"It's our first chance ... to get out there and look at how we go about getting into the final again and defending what we won six or seven months ago," added the former New Zealand cricketer.

The second match of the series will be played in Mumbai from December 3.

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