3 reasons why India’s spin bowling department is better than New Zealand’s

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Having won the T20I series in the rain against New Zealand 1-0, Team India will now be looking to make a significant impact in the upcoming one-day series as well. The Men in Blue and the Kiwis will face off in three ODIs from November 25-30. The first game will be played in Auckland, the second in Hamilton and the last in Christchurch.

While one-day runners have taken a back seat for a majority of 2022 since teams have been preparing for the T20 World Cup in Australia, the focus will now be on preparing for the 2023 ODI World Cup in India. The Indian team and New Zealand will consider the upcoming series as a starting point towards their preparations for the ICC event.

The point guards of both teams will have a key role to play in the one-day series, keeping the terrain and conditions in mind. However, the performance of slow bowlers could also make a difference. On that note, let’s analyze three reasons why India’s spin bowling department is better than New Zealand’s.

#1 India has two quality wicket spinners

The Indian team has two proven wicket takers in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the rotation department. Once an integral part of the Men in Blue white ball teams, KulCha’s fortunes have plummeted in recent years. But both players made impressive comebacks after a disappointing phase.

Chahal may have warmed up the benches in India’s T20 World Cup campaign, but he made an instant impact when he returned to the T20I squad against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui. As for Kuldeep, the last time India played a one-day game he was player of the match for their figures of 4/18 against South Africa in Delhi in October.

Before that, the left-arm spinner also had a great IPL 2022 campaign for Delhi Capitals (DC), claiming 21 wickets in 14 matches. Should India decide to go with two spinners, Chahal and Kuldeep are capable of making an impact, even if the conditions aren’t conducive to the spinner. Even if only one of the two plays, India will still be reasonably strong in the spin department.

#2 Mitchell Santner’s strength is keeping things tight

Compared to KulCha, New Zealand leader Mitchell Santner is not an attacking option. The left arm slow bowler does a decent job for the team and is well aware of his limitations. The 30-year-old, who has played 84 one-day matches, is good at keeping things tight but not so efficient at claiming wickets.

In his ODI career so far, he has claimed 86 scalps at an average of 36.16 and a save rate of 4.81. The numbers clearly show that Santner’s strength lies in cutting runs and not picking up wickets consistently.

(You might want to consider his stats against India in the ODIs – He took 10 wickets in 15 games against India at an average of over 50, that best being 2/34)

Indian hitters, Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer in particular, might look to attack him and throw him off his line. In such a scenario, it would be interesting to see how Santner responds to the challenge thrown at him.

#3 Sundar has a significant advantage over Bracewell

Comparing the two teams’ non-rotation options, Team India again has the advantage. Washington Sundar is a frontline spinner, who has the ability to open the bowling alley. He only played a handful of matches due to his constant battles with injuries and fitness issues. However, when he is fit and on pace, he is definitely an asset to the team.

In a short international career, Sundar has proven to be someone who likes to keep nibbling away at the wickets. In six ODIs he claimed eight wickets at an average of 26.88, while in 32 T20Is he picked up 26 scalps at a strike rate of 24.35. The more he plays, the more Sundar is expected to improve in his skills.

New Zealand have chosen Michael Bracewell as their out-of-rotation bowling option. The 31-year-old is more of a versatile hitter. In 12 ODIs, he claimed 10 wickets at an average of 39.20. By comparison, he scored 264 runs with Willow at an impressive average of 44.

The Kiwis chose limited slow bowling options for the days against India, keeping the conditions in mind. But if there is any help from the box, Team India bowlers are likely to benefit more than their Kiwi counterparts.

Watch the Indian Tour of New Zealand live and exclusively on Prime Video. Coverage of ODIs on November 25, 27 and 30 begins at 6am.

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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at