McCullum resists four seamers temptation for India Test
Auckland: Hoping that Indian batsmen would be flummoxed by in-form leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum resisted the "temptation" to have four seamers and named an unchanged team for the first Test of the two-match series starting here from Thursday.
New Zealand named an unchanged XI from the side that beat the West Indies recently to face India in the first Test.
"We are naming an unchanged eleven, which is reward for the consistency we have shown against the West Indies," said McCullum.
"There`s always that temptation to play four seamers on a green pitch but it`s a tough ask on your number three batsman to go in as your first spinner. Also Ish (Sodhi) has done a pretty good job and as a wrist spinner, even if the pitch doesn`t offer a great deal of spin, he should be able to get something out of it," he added in the pre-match press conference.
The Eden Park pitch has a lively tinge of green and the Ludhiana-born leg-spinner Ish Sodhi will face his toughest challenge yet when he plays against India in this Test.
"It`s got a decent covering of grass, albeit funny looking grass at one end. It looks hard as well so we expect a bit more bounce than what there was against England (in March 2013) and hopefully there`s a bit of pace as well. I don`t expect a huge amount of sideways movement but there may just be enough," said the New Zealand skipper.
"India have got some seamers that can ask some tough questions if the ball does go sideways. It`s no surprise that these conditions should suit us better than them. They`re used to more skiddier wickets where reverse swing comes in. With no wicket block with the drop in wicket and a bit of a tinge in the wicket, hopefully we get some bounce and pace. We`ve still got to execute and bowl well," he added.
Talking about Sodhi in the playing XI, McCullum said he is hoping for the bowler to do justice to his talent.
"He`s young but he`s incredibly talented and hence he`ll continue to get opportunities. He`s a guy that can have a real impact for his country over the next decade or so," he said.
"You`ve got to be patient with leg spinners but we think he`s got a bit of x-factor. I anticipate the Indian batsmen, who are very good players of spin, will try to put Ish under pressure. But I`m confident he`ll come through."