New Zealand need to regroup and find their one-day resolve quickly to prevent their tour of India going down the pan.

Having been dumped 3-0 in the test series by a formidable Indian side, a five-game ODI series starting tomorrow night at Dharamsala on the edge of the Himalayas, could be just the tonic to lift their spirits.

But, if things follow a similar pattern to the tests, New Zealand will arrive home for a busy international season in wretched shape.

There have been changes in personnel, but only three of the test squad - seamer Neil Wagner, batsman Henry Nicholls and spinner Jeetan Patel - have departed, their places going to allrounders Corey Anderson and Anton Devcich and seamer Tim Southee, fit again after missing the tests.


Fresh faces can provide a lift among players who have been through hoops on a tour. Southee conceded it hadn't been pleasant watching as New Zealand fell away during the tests. He rated the efforts of the seamers, who were let down by the collective batting effort.

"This is not an easy place to come to, but we've shown in the last wee while we're a good one-day side and are looking to improve that record away from home and in one of the hardest places to tour," Southee said.

Devcich has been out of the national side for almost two years. He brings versatility with his tidy left arm spin and an aggressive approach at the top of the order. He prepared with a stint in the Caribbean Premier League.

"The slow wickets were probably the best preparation I could have had," he said.

"I'm definitely a little more mature [than two years ago]. I was probably a little bit trigger-happy back in the day. Hopefully the wickets in the one-dayers aren't quite as spinner-friendly and we can post some good scores and bowl well on these wickets."

New Zealand have been overtaken in the rankings by South Africa on the strength of their 5-0 drubbing of Australia. They are third, one place higher than India.

Winning, or at least being part of a tight ODI series won't compensate for the test series. The next World Cup is three years away, so it has little riding on it other than pride in performance.

Opener Martin Guptill will surely relish getting back into the format in which he has a formidable record, and having Anderson there, if only as a batsman, will add hitting power.

Spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi's development should continue and Luke Ronchi, the regular short-form wicketkeeper, might be looking over his shoulder wondering why test gloveman BJ Watling is on tour, too.

India are introducing some younger players, although MS Dhoni still runs the ODI side.

New Zealand will be delighted by the absence of spin tormentors Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja.

The Indian squad is for the first three games only.

If New Zealand are leading after three games, don't be surprised to see the pair return. Belligerent left-hander Suresh Raina has been ruled out by an illness.

On their only visit to Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama, at this year's T20 World Cup, New Zealand did a masterful squeeze job on Australia, winning a low-scoring game by eight runs.

India have had a win and a loss.

Gems to be polished in backyard

Take time out this summer to watch some Plunket Shield cricket.

In the wake of New Zealand's poor batting displays in India, there have been calls for more A level tours, which is a good thing. As a starting point is needed, let's opt for August 2009.

Since then, New Zealand A teams have engaged in seven series against other test-playing nations, along with a handful of games against the next tier down, such as Ireland and Afghanistan on a United Arab Emirates trip in late 2014.

NZ A went to India in 2009; to Zimbabwe in October 2010; India toured New Zealand in September 2012; New Zealand were back on the sub-continent to India and Sri Lanka a year later; they were in the United Kingdom in July-August 2014, the UAE 14 months later; and Sri Lanka were in New Zealand a year ago.

That is a good number of trips, which are designed to look at players who are either rated marginal international players, or those one tier below looking to show their credentials to climb a step in the pecking order.

So New Zealand Cricket deserve a pat for supporting that programme.

Of course, the rider is they could do more, if it is deemed that is the best way to prepare players for the international game.

It's intriguing looking at the names of players on A trips and asking why the ageing, or solidly settled, test player needed to take a spot on these tours. It's also fascinating to check out the opposition, recognise names of players who have made the grade as regular international players - and also those who haven't cut it.

New Zealand's batting performances in India were poor. The bowlers plugged away gamely but didn't have enough runs to work with. They were also too often unable to string dot balls together. But that's for another day.

The batsmen let the squad down in India.

There is a standard response from New Zealand officials that the A tours are where you find out the real potential for up and coming talent, not the domestic game.

The suspicion is that runs made consistently in the Plunket Shield, when the best bowlers may be on international duty, don't rate, unless the player has taken the step up to A status and performed there as well.

This should not be an open and shut case. Some players respond favourably to moving up the ladder either through having a cussedly determined streak, or an ability to lift their game the better the opposition.

Young allrounder Mitchell Santner would not have been picked for New Zealand last year if numbers for Northern Districts were the sole criteria. The selectors had had him in their thoughts for several months, recognised they had a special talent on their hands, before picking him late last year.

It's worth studying this summer's shield form to try and spot players who could be worth a hard look.

NZ A tours are fine, keep them coming, increase them if you can NZC. But writing players off simply on the basis of not having played A cricket is wrong. Don't forget to look in the backyard too.