Cricket: India 'not taking NZ lightly'

By David Leggat

MS Dhoni. Photo / Getty Images
MS Dhoni. Photo / Getty Images

Indian captain MS Dhoni expects his team's New Zealand tour to give his younger players a good learning experience ahead of next year's World Cup.

While several of the squad who arrived in Auckland today for five ODIs and two tests, have played in New Zealand, plenty haven't. Dhoni hopes the ODIs give those players valuable information to be used in a year's time when India will be defending the World Cup they won at home in 2011.

"It's good exposure for them," Dhoni said. "The grounds here are a very different shape and it's difficult to exactly pinpoint the fielding positions. They are quite different to where you usually place your fielders. Overall it'll be a fantastic tour for all the guys."

Dhoni expects conditions to favour the seamers and is looking forward to that. He's expecting high scoring in the ODIs, as that is a trend in the world game.

He defended his bowlers, who have got some rough treatment in recent times, saying their bowling in the death overs had improved.

"Overall I'm quite happy with the bowlers. Again it really depends on the conditions. But if the wicket is favouring the fast bowlers we've definitely got bowlers who can make the most out of the new ball," he said.

Dhoni was quick to praise his opponents, whom India beat comfortably on their last tour to New Zealand in 2009.

"New Zealand are a fantastic side. They've got good bowlers and their recent performances have been really good.

"And especially at home they'll know the conditions better than us and for some who have not played here it will be a challenge.

"We're not taking New Zealand lightly, we'll give them the respect they should get and we know their experienced players are dangerous enough to win games by themselves."

The tour starts with the opening ODI in Napier on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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