India v New Zealand, T20I Series: 5 players to watch out for

India v New Zealand, T20I Series: 5 players to watch out for

If Kane Williamson can walk out of the series with the unbeaten record still intact, it'll go down as one of the greatest achievements in his captaincy career.

MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya News
MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya. (Photo Source: Twitter)

When India and New Zealand collided in the ICC World T20 opener last year, it seemed like the day when the Indian jinx would finally end. But as it turned out, Kane Williamson’s audacious tactics, which no one believed would work out, eventually helped the Kiwis register one of the most thumping victories on Indian soil, bowling the hosts out for a paltry 79 in front of a packed house in Nagpur.

Not many of these players will be keeping that in mind before stepping on the field on Wednesday at Delhi, but the memories will be lurking around. India never managed to defeat the Blackcaps in the shortest format and as amusing as it sounds, they managed to defeat the Men in Blue on all the five previous occasions they met.

All that rich history is in the past now and both these great cricketing nations will be combating against each other for 3 T20 games. If Kane Williamson can walk out of the series with the unbeaten record still intact, it’ll go down as one of the greatest achievements in his captaincy career. Yet, the upbeat Indians are most certainly going to take them down in one game minimum.

This series promises a lot and the excitement surrounding it is certainly palpable. With the game commencing in less than 24 hours, India is all ready for one of the most competitive battle this season. On this eve, let’s take a look at five players from both sides who will be hogging the limelight.

1. MS Dhoni

One of the greatest there was, one of the greatest there can ever be, MS Dhoni will go down as one of the most loved and celebrated cricketers in the history. Over the years, he amassed sensational records and took Indian cricket to the pinnacle. In the last few series, his form has not been too good and in his defense, he didn’t get to spend enough time in the middle.

Nevertheless, the former Indian skipper will have to pull up his socks and all eyes will be on him. In recent times, the crowd is giving him belligerent ovations when he’s coming out to bat and it’s lovely to see him get such backing. He deserves every bit of it and the crowd is so keen to see him perform and keep his place with dignity till the next World Cup.

2. Tom Latham

With a splendid performance in the ODI series, Tom Latham is on absolute fire. He might not be the most powerful lads in the business, but when he times the ball with perfection, his batting is one of he most beautiful sights one can come across.

With a century and a breathtaking innings in the third ODI, he is all set to carry forward the momentum into the T20 series. It’ll be interesting to see where he bats as in the shortest format, where not much time will be available, there is a chance that he can be a liability in the middle order. Nevertheless, he is one such player who’ll be ready to take up any challenge.

3. Ashish Nehra

After making a fairytale comeback into the Indian team in 2016, Nehra is on the verge of ending his career on a high. The fast bowler’s career didn’t propel the way he would’ve liked with injuries halting the progress, but against all the odds, at the age of 38, he’s still in the Indian side.

Nehra chose to finish his career in Delhi where the first game between these sides will be played. Though there ain’t many great moments in his career, he will continue to inspire youngsters to never give up. A world cup winner and a champion in his own rights, Nehraji will be missed and the crowd will give him a lovely sendoff on the match time.

4. Henry Nicholls

The young and dynamic Henry Nicholls didn’t get an opportunity to prove his worth, but the lad is one of the finest young talents in their country. In the final ODI against India, his side needed him badly and he reciprocated quite well.

The 25 -year-old spanked a quickfire 37 and considering a fact that he’s tailor-made for this format, the T20 series can explore a new side in him. The Indian fans would love to see him get in the groove, but not in this series. Nevertheless, if he gets going, he will be hogging a lot of attention.

5. Hardik Pandya

With every passing series, Hardik Pandya is taking his reputation to another level. Whilst many are rating him to go a long way ahead, Pandya is keen to take one step at a time and after performing exceedingly well against Australia in the ODI series, Pandya looks keen to lift his game in the shortest format and what better an opportunity than this?

Skipper Virat Kohli has tried to send him out in various positions and the way he reciprocated is simply brilliant. The skipper will be happy with a fact that there’s flexibility in the lineup and such high-quality three-dimensional players like Pandya will only boost the side’s belligerence.