India are all set to lock horns with New Zealand in a two-match Test series beginning on 21 February at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. However, India's record in Wellington has been extremely poor, and they will have to overcome a 52-year-long barren run in order to beat New Zealand here.
India have managed to win only one out of the seven Tests that they have played in Wellington, and that one win came back in the 1968 tour under the able leadership of Tiger Pataudi. India have played a total of 23 Tests in New Zealand and have managed to win only five out of them.
Three of the five wins came on the famous 1968 tour where India won the four-match Test series 3-1. But apart from that and the 2009 series which India won 1-0, New Zealand has not been a happy hunting ground for the Men in Blue.
India’s record in Wellington
1968: India win by 8 wickets
1976: New Zealand win by an innings and 33 runs
1981: New Zealand win by 62 runs
1998: New Zealand win by 4 wickets
2002: New Zealand win by 10 wickets
Despite the poor record, skipper Kohli is backing India to do well and believes that his team has the skills to challenge the Kiwis in their own conditions. The practice matches have shown some positive signs in the Indian batting as well as bowling department, and Kohli will be hopeful that the same will be showcased when they take the field in Wellington.
“We have prepared in a manner where our fitness levels and concentration levels are such that we can compete against anyone in the world,” Kohli said during the pre-match press conference.
“That’s the kind of confidence we will carry into this series. We are not the same team that we used to be. We have a very complete squad now,” he added.