Looking at the bright side of the spate of injuries that have struck down New Zealand in recent times, batsman Ross Taylor said that the five-match T20I series against India gives the team a chance to test their bench strength, ahead of the World Cup in Australia later this year.
New Zealand will be without several frontline players for the India series. Their fast bowling stocks have especially taken a hit, with Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson among the frontline seamers, and Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell, Adam Milne and Seth Rance among the back-up pacers, all out with injuries.
That, alongside the length of the series, gives New Zealand to try out several permutations and combinations, and Taylor looked at the prospect as a breeding ground for healthy competition.
"Probably right from the Sri Lanka series and England, the focus has been on the World Cup," Taylor said. "It will be different conditions in Australia, but getting those combinations, trying a few different guys out, obviously a few injuries as well, which changes the dynamic of the side, but tests the depth out and gives guys opportunities, which bodes well for competition for spots."
The countdown is on! The team come into camp in Auckland tomorrow to prepare for Friday's first T20I against India at @edenparknz.— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) 20 January 2020
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No matter what the combinations end up being, however, New Zealand are desperately seeking a move on from the Australia tour, where they were blanked 3-0 in the Tests. They will have the comfort of playing at home for starters, but would regardless expect stiff competition from Virat Kohli’s India, who have been a resurgent T20I outfit over the past 12 months.
"It [the Australia tour] didn't go as we would have liked, we were completely outplayed in all three facets of the game," Taylor said. "Now, we are back on home soil, India will be totally different opposition, No. 1 team in the world, but in conditions we know."