Dhoni aims to cure travel sickness

  • Last Updated: January 18 2014, 15:07 GMT

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is determined to rid his team of their reputation for being a soft touch away from home.

Dhoni: Says 'lambs' tag is 'unfortunate'
Dhoni: Says 'lambs' tag is 'unfortunate'

Dhoni's side have lost just one one-day international series on home soil since 2010, and just two of their last 21 home Tests.

But last month's Test and ODI defeats in South Africa added to a sense of travel-sickness - indeed, they have now lost three successive Test series overseas without winning a match.

They now face New Zealand in five one-day internationals, starting in Napier on Sunday, followed by two Tests and Dhoni is determined to change perceptions.

"Other countries too have lost overseas," he told the Times of India. "But very often we have the tagline of 'lambs abroad' because we are a team from the sub-continent. We don't talk about some other countries that have not done well.

"Yes, we have a slightly bigger challenge. More than the pace, the bounce is an issue.

"We had done well in New Zealand and South Africa before we lost in England and Australia (in 2011-12). It is unfortunate that the tag is affixed to us.

"We did well in the two Tests against South Africa, we lost the second Test because we played bad cricket for just two and a half hours and ended up being on the receiving end."

India will take the opportunity to assess their options for the number four slot in their batting order, with Yuvraj Singh not making the trip.

Suresh Raina has long been Yuvraj's understudy, while Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu could also be given the chance to stake their claim.

All-rounder Stuart Binny and seamers Varun Aaron and Ishwar Pandey have also been included in the touring squad, with Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav left out.

New Zealand's squad shows a solitary change from their recent series against the West Indies, with fit-again paceman Tim Southee taking the place of batsman Colin Munro.

All-rounder Corey Anderson, who hit a world-record 36-ball century against the Windies earlier this month, could be rested at some point in the series after coach Mike Hesson raised concerns over fatigue.

The pacey Adam Milne looks set for a major role in their bowling attack, with Hesson calling for aggression and hostility early in the tourists' innings.

"If you just try and deny there comes a time in the game with only four fielders out where it's extremely hard to defend," Hesson told stuff.co.nz.

"If you're able to keep taking wickets at the top you can control those middle overs. That's a pattern that's worked well for us and one we'd certainly look to continue.

"It's aggression in terms of where you bowl the ball, the pace you bowl and the areas you bowl. You're not just running up and putting it there and hoping good things will happen, you're actually trying to make things happen.

"We've got a few guys who do that naturally so we'll certainly be encouraging that."

Conditions at Napier's McLean Park should suit that approach.

Asked what he expected to find, Hesson added: "Quick, bouncy, a good wicket, a high-scoring game - that's the pattern we get there and it's been pretty consistent."

India are currently the world's top-ranked one-day team, but defeat in the series could see them replaced by Australia should the latter wrap up a series win over England.

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