Gary Stead said that the two Test draws on Indian soil would be a big challenge for the team despite India missing some of those big names. The series will be their first stint in the new cycle of the 2021-23 World Test Championship after winning the first edition in June this year.
The Kiwis will play three matches in the T20I series, starting November 17 in Jaipur. The Test Series will follow soon, starting November 25 in Kanpur. India have won two Test series in New Zealand, first in 1968 under Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi with 3-1 and second in 2009 under MS Dhoni by 1-0. On the other hand, the Blackcaps are yet to win the Test series in India.
“They are still very, very strong,” said Stead of Dubai after the Twenty20 World Cup final.
“When you go to India you traditionally think of a round friendly goal, and I still see (Ravindra) Jadeja, (Ravichandran) Ashwin and Axar Patel in their ranks.
“They are obviously people who have performed very, very well for them in the last three or four years.”
“We knew it would be a big challenge there,” added the 49-year-old.
2021 T20 World Cup runner-up will lose serve from left arm pioneer Trent Boul and versatile player Colin de Grandhomme citing bio-bubble fatigue, while opening batsman Devon Conway broke his arm.
Stead added that the new faces on the team would add a different dynamic and this series would be their first chance to start their title defense journey.
“(But) we have some new players, who will be good and fresh, and maybe add a different dynamic to the squad.”
The series will include the first meeting between the nations in the longest format since New Zealand beat India to win the inaugural World Test Championship in June.
“It’s our first chance … to go out and see how we get to the final again and keep what we won six or seven months ago,” added the former New Zealand cricketer.
The second match of the series will be played in Mumbai from 3 December.