Daniel Vettori along with off spinner Jeetan Patel will have to be at the top of their game against India.
New Delhi: Opposition spinners giving the home team sleepless nights is not really the norm when it comes to Test cricket in India, and it's unlikely that things are going to be any different this time around when New Zealand and Team India clash in the first of two Tests at Ahmedabad in a week from now.
Black Caps captain and left arm orthodox bowler Daniel Vettori along with off spinner Jeetan Patel will have to be at the top of their games if they are to make the Indian batsmen break sweat.
Nathan Hauritz, Australia's premier spinner did not exactly have the time of his life in the recently concluded Test series against India where he took six wickets at an average of 65.
For that matter, Sri Lanka, whose forte have been their slower bowlers have had limited success when it came to grappling with the powerful Indian batting line up in an away series.
Having said that, the Indians did not know what hit them when Spin doctor Muttiah Muralitharan who is no longer involved with Test cricket and the carom ball freak, Ajantha Mendis got a staggering 47 wickets between them in a three match Test series in Sri Lanka in 2008. However, the two failed miserably last year when the Lankans paid a return visit and the islanders were completely blown away to hand India a 2-0 series win and the numero uno position in Tests which they have still managed to hang on to.
Even the legendary leggie, the one and only Shane Warne has not managed to perform consistently in his three visits to India for the Border-Gavaskar trophy. He has 34 wickets to his name at an average 43.11 which is an absolute shocker compared to his career average of 25.41.
As far as the Kiwis are concerned, Vettori and fellow offie Paul Wiseman did reasonably well when New Zealand were here for a Test series in 2003-04. They got ten wickets in two Tests and the Black Caps in fact managed to draw that series which is no mean feat for any international side touring India.
But this time, the handicap for Vettori and Patel will be their pace attack which lacks penetration, now that there is no Shane Bond. The heavy workload might be all on the shoulders of the two specialists spinners who themselves have had the responsibility of playing the supporting act in the past.
Also a 4-0 hiding at the hands of Bangladesh in the recently concluded ODI series is not the ideal preparation for a team embarking on a tour of the sub-continent.
It would be fair to say that the odds are heavily stacked against New Zealand for the upcoming Test series against India and their mediocre spin attack raises further questions about their chances of putting up a decent show.