Having wrapped up the Test series 3-0 against New Zealand, the Indian cricket team will be locking horns with the Kiwis in the ODIs, starting from 16 October. The men in blue will be lead by the World Cup winning captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Former Indian cricketer, Sunil Gavaskar voiced his opinion on the upcoming ODI series between India and New Zealand. The legendary batsman talked about various issues regarding both the teams ahead of their first clash in Dharamsala on Sunday.
Gavaskar said that it will be very difficult for Dhoni to find his groove as he has been out of international cricket for quite some time now. The wicketkeeper-batsman last played for India in a T20 game in August against West Indies in the USA.
While speaking to NDTV, the legendary batsman said,
"It will be extremely challenging for Dhoni to switch on. Look at Tiger Woods, it is very difficult to catch up when you are in your 30s."
Gavaskar also mentioned that the Indian vice-captain, Virat Kohli will be the key batsman for India in the ODI series. He went on to add:
"Virat Kohli will be key player for India and of course, the bowlers if they bowl the right areas."
He also stated that the Indian team will miss the services of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who were instrumental in India winning the Test series against the Black caps. The duo took a total of 41 wickets between them.
Gavaskar also felt that the ODI series wouldn’t be a repeat of the Test series. He said that the Kiwis would be coming back hard at the Indian team and also stated that the 2015 World Cup finalists will be looking to make a statement when they face off against Dhoni's men in the shorter format. He was quoted on NDTV as saying:
"New Zealand are a very good ODI team. Brendon McCullum has left a terrific legacy. New Zealand will give India a hard time in the ODIs, much harder than the Tests,"
Gavaskar also laid down his predictions for the ODI series. He said that while India may go in as favourites to clinch the series, they will have to fight hard against the gritty Kiwis. The former India batsman believes that India will clinch the series with a margin of 3-2.
India and New Zealand have played 93 ODIs till now, with India emerging victorious in 46 instances and New Zealand in 41. However, of the 27 ODIs played in India, New Zealand have tasted victory only in 5 matches while losing 21 and with one match being washed out.
With India missing the services of Ashwin, Jadeja and Mohammed Shami, Gavaskar's prediction does make a lot of sense.