Wellington: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has dubbed Team India as a “world-class side with a world-class pace attack” and thus called on his team to bring their A-game in the two-Test series beginning on Friday at the Basin Reserve.
“India has a world-class side, world-class pace attack that has performed in all conditions,” Williamson told reporters at the pre-match conference on Thursday.
“So, really an exciting opportunity for our team but once again it is trying to assist the conditions as best we can and commit our plans which ultimately gives us the best chance of good results,” he added.
In the ongoing World Test Championship, India has won all the seven matches they have played so far and much of the credit goes to the pace battery which consists of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav.
Williamson further said that the Basin Reserve track does tend to provide a bit of movement and assistance for the fast bowlers and thus batsmen need to be careful in their shot-selection.
“Here in New Zealand, it does tend to provide a bit of movement and assistance for the fast bowlers. Leaving the ball well and knowing your off-stump is the important part to most, I guess, top-order batsmen’s games. So, I suppose adapting to what’s in front of us is the most important thing,” he said.
The Black Caps skipper also said that he will make a final inspection of the Basin Reserve pitch before confirming his side for the Wellington Test. Right-arm pace bowler Kyle Jamieson looks set for his debut in the absence of Neil Wagner who has withdrawn from the squad to await the birth of his first child.
“We just want to have another look at this surface,” Williamson said. “It’s got a different look to what we’re used to seeing here at the Basin.”
If selected, Jamieson would join Trent Boult and Tim Southee in a three-pronged pace attack but Williamson said it would not be easy to fill Wagner’s shoes.
“You don’t replace a guy like Neil,” he added. “The qualities that he brings are quite unique but you then bring in a guy who targets slightly different areas, coming from a slightly different height as well.”
New Zealand, who are at the sixth spot in the World Test Championship with 60 points, had lost their last Test series in Australia where they were whitewashed in the three-match rubber.
India, on the other hand, had blanked Bangladesh in the two-Test series — which also included their first-ever pink-ball Test.
“If you are playing good cricket and you are winning cricket games then the points coming a little bit more,” said Williamson.
“The Test Championship is definitely a step in the right direction and not perfect but I’m sure that the first year or two there will always be efforts to continue to make it a better product. We are all keen to see how it falls and I’m sure it will develop over time,” he added.
Feb 20 (IANS)