'Kiwis wary of Indian players, but not pitches'

Published: Saturday, September 20, 2003, 23:46 [IST]
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Chennai: Having devised innovative training methods to counter Indian conditions during the upcoming Test series, New Zealand's stand-in coach Ashley Ross on Saturday said the real challenge for his team would be the "Indian players and not the wickets we play on."

"We are not concerned about the kind of wickets we are playing on. Whether they are spinning wickets or grassy wickets, the challenge will be the Indian players, not the wicket we play on," Ross told reporters here on Saturday. Ross, who came to India ahead of the national team to watch the Irani Cup match between Ranji champions Mumbai and Rest of India, said he was here to make sure that the plans that worked in New Zealand were valid here. "It's always a great challenge playing international cricket in India. We have to see whether the plans we made when India came over are still valid. Otherwise we will have to change and keep improving," he said.

"All the Indian players are great players and we are very mindful of their ability. We have prepared ourselves hard because we believe it's one of the great challenges," the coach said. The Kiwis will arrive in India on Sunday for a two-Test series and a One-day tri- series featuring world champions Australia as the third team. Pointing out that the team had played very well in Sri Lanka and recently managed to win a Test series against West Indies, Ross said they had some very good plans for the team and many great players were involved in it.

Ross said the team had prepared well for the Indian tour and has concentrated on checking whether the players can cope with the kind of conditions that you can expect in India. "The fear is the unknown. A lot of our preparation has been geared towards diminishing the unknown. If you know yourself and the enemy then you need not fear a thousand battles," he said. The coach said the Black Caps have prepared a database having all the information of opposition players in the last four or five years and his visit to the Irani Cup match was a chance to watch all the Indian players before the tour.

"Ahead of the tour, the cricketers played on wickets that were specifically prepared to mirror Indian conditions and in the heat as well and this could help us a lot," Ross added.

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