India no longer poor tourists, says Moles

India have laid to rest any notion that they tour poorly and New Zealand will have to be at their best to overcome what is arguably the best cricket team in the world, BLACKCAPS coach Andy Moles says.

India, whose tour begins this week with two Twenty20s, will also play five one-day internationals and three tests against New Zealand.

The opening Twenty20 is on Wednesday in Christchurch and the second in Wellington on Friday.

Moles said India had played good cricket around the world and at home in the past two years.

"They have very experienced players and are coached really well -- they come (to New Zealand) at a time when it'll be a good test for us.

"We can't wait for the series to start because we need to see areas where we need to improve and where we are doing very well.

"The Indians, I believe, are probably the number one side in the world at the moment in all facets and we will need to make sure we are at our best in all components of our game.

" We are looking forward to a really tough challenge and at the end of it, if we play well, we'll come out of it with a bit more kudos for our team."

New Zealand are coming off a drawn Chappell-Hadlee series after taking a 2-0 lead and Moles was keen for his side to show they had learned from the experience.

"We probably stood back a little bit and gave the Australians an opportunity to win games. We have spoken about being pro-active in going about winning games.

" The Indians probably haven't toured very well in the past but they have put that to bed in the last couple of years and did really well in Australia last year."

He said key all-rounder Jacob Oram would play only as a batsman in the two Twenty20s but was slated to play a full role after that.

"He's bowling in the nets and hopefully we will see him in the one-day internationals.

"We are wary of pushing him too early as we want him to be an all-rounder for the foreseeable future, not just for one or two games."

While the senior players such as skipper Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Oram would need to stand up in the series, the Black Caps were also a developing side with players such as Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott and Neil Broom whom India had not seen before.

"It would be nice if we can catch the Indians out a little bit as they don't know some of our younger players coming through but we still need to execute our plans and play good cricket."

He said New Zealand would be drawing on the knowledge of John Wright, who coached India for a number of years and laid the foundations of the current team, to help hatch plans against his former team.

Meanwhile, key batsman Ross Taylor says he will still need to face a fitness trial before playing the opening Twenty20 match.

He said his hamstring twinge picked up while playing against Australia was coming along okay and he had sprinted at 95 percent on Saturday.

"But I will still have to pass a fitness test before Wednesday."

NZPA

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