India host the World Cup in October and they will be keen to sharpen up their 50-over skills in the ODI series against New Zealand.
The Black Caps, beaten by England in a Super Over in the 2019 World Cup final, have won their last five completed one-day internationals against India but they face a fired-up home side who demolished Sri Lanka by a record margin of 317 runs in their most recent outing on Sunday.
|What||India v New Zealand, 1st ODI|
|Where||Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad, India|
|When||08:00, Wednesday 18th January|
|Odds||India 2/5, New Zealand|
New Zealand's winning streak against India started at Old Trafford in the 2019 World Cup semi-final and their next four ODI victories were all at home, most recently in Auckland last November.
Beating India in India is a different proposition and New Zealand are 2/1 to upset the hosts, who have won 22 of their last 25 bilateral ODI series on home turf, in Wednesday's first ODI in Hyderabad.
India warmed up for this series in style, beating Sri Lanka 3-0, and they showed absolutely no mercy to the men from the Teardrop Isle in Sunday's third ODI.
The resurgent Virat Kohli's unbeaten 166 off 110 balls powered India to a total of 390-5 before they bowled out the Lankans for just 73 to set a new record winning margin in ODIs, eclipsing New Zealand's 290-run win over Ireland in 2008.
His 46th one-day international century on Sunday was studded with eight sixes, the most he has struck in a 50-over innings for India, and he is to be the Player to Score Most Match 6s in the first ODI against New Zealand.
If New Zealand are to prevail in the three-match series in India they will have to do it without some of their most experienced ODI performers.
Kane Williamson, who captained them to the 2019 World Cup final, and veteran paceman Tim Southee have been rested for this series while left-arm fast bowler Trent Boult has opted to focus on T20 franchise cricket.
Williamson, who made his ODI debut in a 200-run win over India in 2010, enjoyed an excellent tour of Pakistan after Christmas. He followed up an unbeaten 200 in the Test match in Karachi with scores of 85 and 56 in the final two ODIs as the Black Caps came from 1-0 down to win the series 2-1.
Opener Devon Conway scored 101 and 52 in those two victories and he will be hoping to continue a superb start to his international career.
Since making his debut in November 2020, Conway averages 55 in Test cricket, 49 in Twenty20 internationals and 44 in 15 ODIs and he is 3/1 to be New Zealand's Team - Top Batter in Hyderabad.
India batsman Shreyas Iyer has had to withdraw from the squad due to a back injury and that is a major disappointment for a player who racked up scores of 103, 52, 62, 80 and 49 in his five previous ODIs against New Zealand.
Intriguingly, however, it sets the scene for Suryakumar Yadav to get a run of games in the 50-over team after some stunning innings for India in T20 cricket.
The man known as SKY has hit the heights for Mumbai Indians and India in 20-over cricket, scoring three centuries and 13 fifties in just 43 T20 international innings.
His ODI returns have been less spectacular, with a top score of 64 from 16 knocks, but he is striking the ball brilliantly, scoring 111 not out against New Zealand in November and 112 not out against Sri Lanka this month, both from just 51 deliveries.
India's management team clearly believes Suryakumar can be an all-format superstar as he has been called up to the Test squad for the forthcoming series against Australia and he is to be Player of the Match in the first ODI.
New Zealand's Glenn Phillips picked up that award in the series decider against Pakistan in Karachi on 13th January, nailing a tricky run-chase with an unbeaten 63 off 41 balls to see his side home with just two wickets to spare.
Phillips is a prolific six-hitter in T20 franchise cricket and, despite starting out as a wicketkeeper, is renowned as one of the world's best outfielders.
He showcased yet another talent in the Pakistan series, picking up a couple of wickets with his off-spin including the key scalp of Babar Azam in the first ODI, and he is worth considering at to be named Player of the Match in the series opener.