Napier, Jan 18: Ahead of their five-match one-day series against the visiting Indian team, New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond has asked his boys to rise up to the challenge of facing world's number one ODI team and put them under pressure by winning the first game here on Sunday.
"I think everyone is really excited about this tour by the Indian team. They are a fantastic unit and we are playing at home, in conditions that aren't really familiar to them. They have some ferocious batsmen so do we and both sides have good bowlers," said the former Black Caps' fast bowler.
"It will be an interesting contest and I am hoping for a fantastic ODI series followed up by an equally intriguing Test series," he added.
New Zealand chief coach Mike Hesson had laid down the challenge to MS Dhoni's team whilst asking for bowler-friendly pitches for the upcoming tour, both in ODIs and Tests.
"I am always in favour of bowler-friendly pitches being a fast bowler myself," said Bond jokingly.
"Seriously though, the pitches for ODIs will be more batsmen friendly, firm and hard, with a lot of bounce. Some of them will be drop-in pitches like the one here in Napier, so there will not be much in them for the bowlers. The grounds in New Zealand are small as well, so the batsmen can make merry especially in limited-overs cricket.
"That's why it is very important that we win the 1st game and start this 2nd half of summer well. India have only just arrived here and while they have been doing the net sessions, they haven't played a game before the first ODI. So it might take them a game or two to settle down and get warmed up.
"There are two ODIs in Hamilton and the conditions should suit them more. And they showed in South Africa that they learn very quickly, so we need to take advantage of this situation on Sunday and put them under pressure from the word go," Bond added.
Asked about the hosts' desire to win, Bond said: "Look, we are placed at number eight and they are at number one. They deserve it for the cricket they have played over the past year, but I think the gap on the field shouldn't really be that big in these conditions."