Bangalore: Nothing else but 'revenge' will be on top of India's mind when they step on to New Zealand soil for the Test-ODI series.
India was humiliated by Kiwis when they visited New Zealand in 2003. Sourav Ganguly"s young resurgent India was drubbed 2-0 in Tests, and trounced 5-2 in the ODIs that followed, by Stephen Fleming"s New Zealand.
Now under the charismatic Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India have been in ominous form in both forms of the game and the 5-0 whitewash against the ODI series at home gives a fair indication of the side's might.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori's is also upbeat after giving the Aussies a run for their money.
For cricket fans, stage is set for a mouth watering clash. India kick off their campaign with two Twenty20 internationals on February 25 and 27. Then they play five ODIs in between March 5 and 14, as India chase the number one spot in the 50-over form of the game.
India have not won a Test in New Zealand since 1976. Over the last 33 years they have played 13 matches, lost six and drawn seven. This time India"s youth brigade under Dhoni is determined to break the jinx.
s they will look to win the 2-Test series as well to close the gap on top.
Former India coach and selector of New Zealand cricket John Wright said that Team India will look to settle scores this time around, after their humiliating loss in 2003.
"The advantage India have this time is that, whatever conditions are rolled out by the hosts, they have the attack to make the most of them. They will possibly want to settle a few old scores after what happened in 2002-03," said John Wright.
For Daniel Vettori though, the prospect of bowling at Virender Sehwag and Dhoni in smaller grounds in New Zealand is a scary proposition.
"You look at the individual players and some of the world's best are coming. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag batting on the little grounds in New Zealand is pretty scary," he said.
Lack of practice matches along with a poor record in New Zealand has not deterred the Men in Blue. It is Dhoni and his men's shot at glory. If India continues its winning run, it could signal the demise of the Aussie empire.