India should have no problems playing on New Zealand’s pace-friendly pitches, says Simon Doull

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“It’s going to be a hell of a hard task to win this series”

Former New Zealand fast bowler Simon Doull has announced that India should not have any problems playing on the country’s pace-friendly pitches, especially since they have just toured South Africa, where the conditions are highly similar.

Doull also noted that India’s batsmen are much more comfortable against pace bowling.

“Gone are the days when one could send the visitors to a green-tinge deck and they would be worried,” Doull wrote in his column for “For one, India’s batting order won’t fall over like the West Indies’ did (in the earlier series). From one to seven, they’ve got quality batsmen. Guys like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni will hurt you, whether it’s pace or spin you bowl to them.

“Young India batsmen are a lot better than they used to be at facing pace. They’ve grown up playing on better surfaces, facing the likes of Johnson and Steyn in the IPL -so they are far better equipped to play good, quick, short-pitched seam bowling. Their ability to play spin is undoubted, so it will be a real mountain for the New Zealand bowlers to climb.”

Despite New Zealand’s impressive performance against the West Indies, Doull believes India will be a much tougher beast to slay.

“We’ve seen the ramble that has been the West Indies come and go – now the Black Caps have got their big summer task ahead of them: a one-day series against the world’s best at that format, India,” he said. “It’s going to be a hell of a hard task to win this series. India are extremely good.”

Doull even believes that India will “love” playing on pitches like the ones in Napier, Hamilton and Auckland.

“Look at Napier – a hard, fast quick surface that doesn’t go sideways; same with Hamilton and Auckland – plenty of runs in both those wickets,” he said. “They will love them.”

Doull also advised the Black Caps to carefully study the new players India have drafted into their side.

“Stuart Binny is a genuine all-rounder – a powerful hitter, who bowls some sneaky medium pace that could play well on the Kiwi pitches,” he said. “Varun Aaron is a quick for the Delhi Daredevils and should catch the eye. He has been having injury worries on and off for the past two years.

“A bit like Umesh Yadev, he’s got genuine pace – and is a guy they’ve got an eye on to the future for seam bowling. India in the past decade have struggled to find genuine quicks – but they’ve got actually got a good group of seamers now.”

The 44-year-old also admitted that India have transformed themselves into one of the best fielding sides in the world.

“Gone are the days when the Indians had a few draught horses in the field; these guys are a super-slick fielding unit,” he said. “There aren’t too many places where you can hit the ball and pick up the easy ones as you could in the past.”

The former pace bowler added that he was interested to see the team New Zealand put together to take on India.

“I believe Adam Milne deserves a good opportunity,” he said. “He got only two overs in Queenstown against the Windies – and is worth a shot early in the series against India. We need to see whether he has the ability to foot it at this level.

“There are a couple of questions for the top batting order. Martin Guptill’s innings in Nelson against the West Indies would have done him a lot of good, because he was coming back into the team and still finding his place. He’s got to make sure that Jesse Ryder doesn’t have to swing all the time and create all the strike-rate.

“The continued development of Kane Williamson at first drop is key. Going down the order, Luke Ronchi really has to show us something in this series. He has promised a lot and they’ve backed him – but we haven’t seen much from him as a New Zealand international yet.”

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