India will kick off the ODI series against New Zealand with the first ODI at Eden Park, Auckland on Friday (November 25).
Opener Shikhar Dhawan will be leading the side in absence of other seniors like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. Men in Blue had won the rain-affected three-match T20I series by 1-0.
“They have been a good side, a consistent one. They have got a great pace attack and we look forward to taking that challenge in these conditions and batting well. Boys did well in T20Is and we want to carry that momentum in ODIs,” said Dhawan in a press conference ahead of the match.
On motivating himself to play in ODIs, which is the only format he plays as of now, Dhawan said that he sees huge gaps between ODI series as a blessing.
“I get more off time and am able to stay more fresh and stronger. When I was playing all the formats, It was a lot of cricket. I make sure that I keep myself in that groove. When I enter the team, I make sure that I keep up with the pace of the team, otherwise, I will be left behind,” he added.
On facing competition from KL Rahul in ODIs as an opener, Dhawan said that it gives him the hunger to keep performing well.
Questioned about players having to wait long to get regular chances on the field, something Dhawan himself experienced earlier in his career, the left-hander said that everyone faces these situations.
“It is great for the team, because it has so many great players. Communication on part of coach and captain is the key in such a situation. Players get clarity that why they are not being played. When such transparency is there, players understand that this all is for a bigger interest, the interest of the team,” he added.
This statement comes when many fans on internet have voiced out criticism and anger after Sanju Samson did not get to feature in T20I series against the Kiwis.
The ODI leg of the NZ tour will be held from November 25-30. New Zealand will return to India for a white-ball series in January next year.
“To play good cricket and win this series, that’s what we are looking for. It will be a good exposure for the young players to come and play in New Zealand. To test their skills in different conditions. It’s a good opportunity for us to show our skills,” said Shikhar Dhawan.
“This preparation is all about the upcoming World Cup. The players are forming really well. It good to see that they are doing well and we have a really good idea…. who will get a chance to claim a spot in the World Cup squad,” he added.
Talking about the captaincy role the Indian captain said, “I am really fortunate to get the captaincy of the Indian team. It is very nice to have this challenging opportunity. We have won a good series too. I was not hurt when the captaincy was taken back from me. I don’t feel bad if something didn’t go the way we wanted.”
India’s squad for New Zealand ODIs: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (VC and WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar and Umran Malik.