After a solid finish to their home season with a 2-1 ODI series win against Australia, India ready themselves for their tour of New Zealand, their first overseas assignment since the tour of the Caribbean in August last year.
India will kickstart their tour with a five-match T20I series against the hosts, following by three ODIs and finally, a two-match Test series. Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the T20I and ODI series due to a shoulder injury that he picked up during the recently-concluded ODI series against Australia.
Sanju Samson has been included in the T20I squad for the New Zealand tour. Prithvi Shaw has also received a call-up to the ODI squad.
With skipper Virat Kohli indicating that KL Rahul could continue to keep the wickets, Samson, Rishabh Pant and Manish Pandey will have to battle it out for the middle-order spot. Rahul, in all probability, will open with Rohit Sharma.
India will field a largely similar squad as the one that played the ODI series against Australia. For New Zealand, they would be looking to bounce back hard after being hammered 0-3 by Australia in Test series away. In their last T20I series they lost to England in the Super Over in the final T20I with the series poised at 2-2.
The loss to Australia still rankles and Kane Williamson's captaincy has come under the scanner. He would be looking for a turnaround as soon as possible.
However, the home side will have their task cut out against a strong Indian side, as they will be missing the services of Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson owing to injuries.
The first T20I is scheduled for 24 January, at Eden Park in Auckland. On the weather front, the forecast, according to Accuweather, is promising for tomorrow's match, with a bright and sunny sky in the offing. There will be some cloud cover but no chance of rain.
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Hesson also backed Rishabh Pant to provide the x-factor like he did on the memorable tour of Australia earlier this year and is in favour of a best of three WTC final in the long run.
Stead also informed that left arm seamer Trent Boult is available for the second Test.
Dan Lawrence's brisk fifty helped England reach stumps on 258-7