The series will be the first big one for both teams in the year of the T20 World Cup later this year, with over 20 matches to go for each.
India will be without a few injured players – Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar – but their depth in reserves has hardly ever been stronger. With Samson replacing Dhawan in the 16-man squad, it remains to be seen if he and Pandey will get a chance if Rishabh Pant gets to play as wicketkeeper and KL Rahul plays purely as a batsman.
Tim Southee, Blair Tickner and Scott Kuggeleijn in the pace attack, with Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi making up the spin department for New Zealand. With Pandya not returning to international cricket anytime soon, India need to have his solid back-up for the T20 World Cup. They are carrying three allrounders – Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar – and it will be a good trial for both Dube and Washington in New Zealand conditions after India played their recent games at home.
India vs New Zealand Team News
Ross Taylor said on Tuesday the injuries in their camp has given the fringe players a chance to stake a claim for spots. New Zealand have a fairly stable top half which sees Williamson’s returns. It might mean they will have to pick one of Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell for No. 6.
India played only five bowling options in their last T20I against Sri Lanka, but may now have to pick a sixth on a high-scoring Eden Park. Virat Kohli said on the eve of the match that making KL Rahul keep in T20Is too will give them “a lot more balance” to play another batsman. In that case, they can accommodate Manish Pandey at No. 5 and two allrounders at Nos. 6 and 7 out of Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar.
IND vs NZ Playing XI
India Playing XI: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 KL Rahul (wk), 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Shivam Dube 7 Washinton Sundar/Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
New Zealand Playing XI: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Colin Munro, 3 Tim Seifert (wk), 4 Kane Williamson (capt), 5 Ross Taylor, 6 Colin de Grandhomme/Daryl Mitchell, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Scott Kuggeleijn, 11 Hamish Bennett