Gary Stead: We want teams to believe it's tough playing in NZ
Kiwi head coach Gary Stead sends out warning to cricketing world after 10-wicket win over India
New Zealand coach Gary Stead on Tuesday said that he was a bit surprised by India's abject surrender in the first Test but is expecting a strong comeback in Christchurch. India were all out for 165 and 191 in the two innings of the opening Test, leading to a 10-wicket drubbing in just over three days. "It was a bit of a surprise but it was also due to the pressure we put on those guys for long periods of time. You get Trent [Boult] and Tim [Southee] to operate in our conditions and both were outstanding. Trent's freshness after being out for eight weeks added spark," Stead told reporters.
The head coach also had a subtle warning for the Indian team, saying touring New Zealand could be as tough as playing in some of the other countries. "We want teams to believe that it is as tough in New Zealand as it is playing anywhere else in the world. That's a pride thing." Getting Ajinkya Rahane cheaply on the fourth morning was the clincher for Stead. After that, he knew that New Zealand would wrap it up quickly. "We picked up wickets at critical times in the match. We got Rahane out and it was the catalyst of the belief," he said.
India captain Virat Kohli had said that his batsmen should come out with a positive approach, and Stead feels that a top side like India would like to dominate. "I expect Indian batsmen trying to dominate more and that will be a challenge for our bowlers because a world-class side like India will come back hard." Neil Wagner is back for the second Test (February 29 to March 4) after the birth of his first child and there is a possibility that the hosts will go in with four specialist seamers in bowling friendly conditions at the Hagley Oval.
"That's always a good selection dilemma to have as Neil is coming back. Neil will be back [in the 11] without a doubt," he said. Asked if left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel will be dropped, Stead didn't want to spell it out in as many words. "We will always consider that [four seamers plus Colin de Grandhomme] as an option after looking at the wicket. I don't want to make assumptions but yes, the wicket at Hagley has a wee bit in it also. We have seen that guys like Colin can be very useful on this track. Whoever gets a chance needs to put up a performance like the first game because India will get better."
Asked if the 60 points earned puts them in a good place in the World Test Championship table, Stead didn't want to look that far ahead. "Looking too far ahead would be dangerous for us. The next Test is the only thing we can focus on now. After this, we play the next Test series in August—an away series in Bangladesh and that's completely different."
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