Our conditions will pose challenge to Mithali Raj and company: Kiwi skipper Amy Satterthwaite

New Delhi: The wickets in New Zealand will be a “different challenge” for India, Kiwi skipper Amy Satterthwaite said ahead of the limited-overs series, beginning on January 24.

The Indian women tour will comprise three-match ODI and three-match T20I. The ODI series will contribute points towards the ICC Women’s Championship.

“When Indian team plays at home, the conditions suit their spinners but New Zealand wickets do not tend to turn as much. So, it will be a different challenge,” Satterthwaite said in an email interview to ANI.

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The teams last clashed in the 2018 World Cup T20 in the Caribbean, where Harmanpreet Kaur’s historic century guided India to a convincing 34-run win over New Zealand.

Previously in the bilingual series played in 2015, New Zealand toured India and lost a tightly-contested five-match ODI series by 2-3 but clinched the three-match T20I series 2-1.

“We have not played India in a series since 2015. They have a few new faces as well as their experienced campaigners. We know that we will have to be consistent across all three disciplines against a quality Indian side but it is a challenge we are ready for,” the top-order batswoman said.

The 32-year-old versatile cricketer, as she expressed herself, noted her team has enjoyed a lot of success playing at home in the last few years and “will be looking to continue that form this summer” and convert the known conditions into an advantage.

“Whenever you are playing a series, you want to win regardless of who the opponent is ­ and the history. This series is no different and especially playing at home, we would love to play well in front of our home crowds. We will have a few days of preparation as a team before our first game on the 24th, which will be a great opportunity to finalise our plans before we take on India,” she said.

The Kiwi skipper, who has played against Indian cricketers Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), considers the limited-overs series a “good opportunity” to come up against them.

“I am sure those (New Zealand players) that have played WBBL will have plans from playing against them (Smriti and Harmanpreet) that we will be able to discuss and look to implement,” she said.

Throughout the recent World Cup T20, former captain Suzie Bates lacked support on the other end of the 22-yards. The experiment of splitting the explosive duo of Bates and all-rounder Sophie Devine did not pay off as New Zealand struggled to cut the knot at the top.

Satterthwaite, who was appointed the New Zealand captain in September last year with Bates stepping down from the post after six years in charge, acknowledged the dilemma over a potent batswoman alongside Bates.

“This is something that management and myself will discuss leading into the series. Every time we play, we are looking to put our best combination and order in the park and this series will be no different,” she said.

With some quality bowlers, who possess a different variety of skill sets in the team, Satterthwaite believes “it is nice to have different options to use in different situations and against different players.”

White Ferns, as the New Zealand women’s team is called, have a good range of skill sets within their group that balance the team out well. The bowling attack primarily consists Leigh Kasperek, Lea Tahuhu, Amelia Kerr and Sophie Devine, who can all produce match winning spells, Satterthwaite concluded.

Following are the ODI squads for the series:

India: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Poonam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Tanya Bhatia (wk), Mona Meshram, Ekta Bist, Mansi Joshi, Dayalan Hemlatha, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, Jhulan Goswami.

New Zealand: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk), Sophie Devine, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu
India and New Zealand are scheduled to play first ODI on January 24 at Napier, followed by the remaining two games at Mount Maunganui on January 29 and Hamilton on February 1, respectively.


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