Wellington: The Indian team have come to New Zealand with a pace bowling attack which is the envy of the world. New-ball partners Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are being seen as the biggest threat, as far as former New Zealand speedster Shane Bond is concerned.
"Both [Shami and Bumrah] are going to be key factors because Shami has bowled brilliantly of late across formats and Bumrah will be desperate to bounce back [after going wicketless in the ODI series]. I don't think he bowled badly with the white ball. You can't expect him to pick wickets all the time," said Bond on Tuesday.
The first Test starts here on Friday and the Basin Reserve Test is expected to be a battle among the pacers. "I won't pick a spinner on this track. I will be surprised if New Zealand pick a spinner. It's a win-toss, field-first kind of pitch although I think India will play [Ravindra] Jadeja," said Bond, who is Mumbai Indians' bowling coach.
Despite a humiliating 0-3 loss in their last Test series in Australia, Bond is optimistic about New Zealand's chances of beating India in the upcoming series. "New Zealand is hard to beat at home. Recently, they beat England. It will be a tightly-contested series as New Zealand have great variety in their bowling attack. Neil [Wagner] will test with short balls. [Tim] Southee has got swing and [Kyle] Jamieson has both pace and swing. They are a different kind of bowling unit," said Bond, who claimed 87 wickets in 18 Tests for New Zealand.
It's not just India's bowling that impressed Bond. Before signing off, the Christchurch-based Bond said that India's batting is equally dangerous. "[Cheteshwar] Pujara is going to be the key as he is an awesome player. [Mayank] Agarwal has got a great start to his career but it will be a challenge for him and the top order. And Virat, I think as history suggests, would come back strongly. It's a different format but New Zealand will test him with short balls," Bond concluded.
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