First Test of India-NZ series will set tone for long home season: Ajinkya Rahane

Kanpur, Sep 19: Batsman Ajinkya Rahane is expecting the Kanpur wicket to assist the Indian spinners and says the team's performance in the first Test will set the tone for a long home season, comprising 13 five-day games.

Ind-NZ series schedule

"It is exciting times for us with the 13 Tests scheduled at home. The West Indies tour went well for us. Some players also featured in the Duleep Trophy before the New Zealand series.

First Test against New Zealand will set tone for long home season: Ajinkya Rahane

We feel we are in pretty good space at the moment," Rahane said ahead of India's first match of the three-Test series against New Zealand, beginning on Friday.

"It will be important to play series by series. We know our conditions here. Having said that, it is important that we respect the opponents in all the 13 Tests."

India will begin the home season with a three-Test series against New Zealand, followed by England, Australia and Bangladesh.

The pitch has been the talking point again before the start of a home series. New Zealand were not offered a turning track in their warm-up match in Delhi but the wicket in India's 500th Test at Green Park is expected to be a turner.

(Harbhajan Singh doesn't want to see 'rank turners' in India-NZ Test series)

However, Rahane insisted that the team is focussed only on performing, irrespective of the conditions. India's outdoor practice session yesterday was washed out due to heavy rain.

"The weather is not in our control but we have generally seen slow and low wickets here, like it was in the ODI against South Africa last year. Every day (of the game) the pitch behaves different so we will have to analyse how it would play out each day. Anyway as a team we don't focus on the pitch, we are focussed on putting up a good performance.

"Hopefully the wicket will turn. We all know in India that wickets are helpful for the spinners. That is our strength here and it is important to play to our strengths. As of now not sure how the wicket will behave," said the batsman.

Is the team reading too much into New Zealand's performance in the practice match, where Mumbai scored 400 runs off their bowling attack on a single day with their highly touted spinners proving expensive?

"What happens in a practice match is that you are bound to try a few different things. The mindset is different in a warm-up and in a Test match, it is different. They have good bowlers, all three (spinners) are playing together. We respect them. We don't take anyone lightly. Our focus will be on not allowing them to settle into a rhythm," insisted Rahane.


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