Depending on which individual you're talking about, there's a range of incentives for players in New Zealand's upcoming A tour of India.

The players have a camp in Christchurch tomorrow and on Monday before leaving for seven games against India A. The two first-class games are in Visakhapatnam, on the Bay of Bengal on India's west coast, with the five one-dayers to follow at Vijayawada, 350km south, and an unknown quantity.

A handful of players, probably about four, are likely to be added into the senior New Zealand squad to be named early next week for a six-game limited-overs visit to India in October. The incentive, therefore, is obvious.

For others who won't figure in that group, it's a chance to broaden their experience of conditions in India.


Several players, notably captain Henry Nicholls, fast bowlers Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, spinner Ish Sodhi and batsman Colin Munro, have spent time in India before, while coach Shane Bond is an old hand on the sub-continent, as both player and in coaching roles.

For others it will be new, and a considerable assault on the cricketing senses.

Batsman Nicholls, already up to 14 tests, averaging 31.94, inside his first 18 months, played one of them at Kolkata last year.

"It's about learning as quickly as you can. The nature of conditions there are so different and something that can be overwhelming," he said.

Nicholls reckoned one of the bigger lessons he learned was the importance of understanding, then sticking to game plans.

"That was the biggest thing, trusting your game," he said.

Nicholls made his maiden test hundred against South Africa in Wellington last summer, a fine 118, and at 25 shapes as a key figure on the A trip.

He admitted the prospect of being added to the senior squad should be a carrot for his players, even if those decisions has already been made by the national selectors.

If it has been, it suggests a closed shop. For example, there are three wicketkeepers on the trip, Auckland's opening batsman Glenn Phillips, Wellington's middle order man Tom Blundell and Northern Districts' Tim Seifert. At least one seems certain to be added to the senior squad.

Nicholls acknowledged there is a balancing act of sorts there if all are to be given a decent chance.

Being in a battle for the national side isn't an equal opportunities business, however.

The player who catches the eye early on is likely to get most chances on tour to push their claims.

"It's nice to have three quality keepers and a guy like [wicketkeeping coach] Martyn Croy there.

"It will be a really good experience to see how different it is, not just the wicket, but conditions.

"I know [test keeper] BJ Watling talked about how tough he found it there, especially in test matches. There'll be a little bit of competition to push themselves."

Having all five one-dayers in one place is also a bonus in Nicholls' mind. It takes out the issue of travel and should help focus the players on the business at hand in the middle.

NZ A squad
The New Zealand A squad to play two first-class games and five one-day fixtures against India A from September 23-October 15:
Henry Nicholls (c), Todd Astle, Matt Henry (Canterbury), Tom Blundell (Wellington), Glenn Phillips, Lockie Ferguson, Colin Munro, Sean Solia, Jeet Raval (Auckland), Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi (Northern Districts), Seth Rance, George Worker, Will Young, Tom Bruce (Central Districts). Raval will be replaced by Phillips for the one-day matches.