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Columns - The Shaz Effect

Focus will be on India's bowling

By Ravi Shastri
Thursday, November 04, 2021

A few things are well-documented. There are records to be had and careers to be revived. Sachin Tendulkar's 50th Test ton is a foregone conclusion. Then, there is Rahul Dravid's 200th Test catch and India's record 10th unbeaten successive series in the do's-list. Fans are also keen to see Gautam Gambhir and Dravid's return to form.

For Indian cricket's health, it's got to be the bowlers in prime focus. Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, with Pragyan Ojha as back-up, were excellent against Australia. India need more support around them. Preferably, from Ishant Sharma, who is a brilliant prospect. Mohali ought to have done his confidence a world of good. Sreesanth should look to push him.

New Zealand might not be easy pushovers yet nobody foresees them getting 20 Indian wickets in Indian conditions.

A draw would be a victory of sorts and under Daniel Vettori, you can expect some dogged resistance. It is here where Zaheer and Co. could struggle.

A couple of seasons ago, Motera produced nearly 1600 runs between India and Sri Lanka. With Zaheer an excellent exponent of reverse swing, a placid pitch might not offer much joy to New Zealand.

Their chief campaigners, Vettori and Brendon McCullum, ought to raise their hands. Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder need to show they have more in them than merely an innings or two of the slam-bang variety.

India have a challenge to meet and standards to keep. The momentum must be carried forward. It will then bode well for the World Cup.

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