Ed Hawkins previews the first game of the T20 series from Jaipur on Wednesday and fears for New Zealand.
"It should be a decent batting track, though. In the study period nine teams batting first have busted 160 or more"
India v New Zealand
Wednesday 17 November 13.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
India's new era
India are fast out of the blocks in their bid to get ahead of the pack with just under 12 months to go until another T20 World Cup.
They have a new captain, Rohit Sharma, with Virat Kohli stepping down. Better late than never considering Rohit's superb record in the IPL with Mumbai Indians.
But he's got a hotch-potch squad to deal with. They've picked five openers so several batters could be asked to play unfamiliar roles. Rohit may take the No 3 slot now he's a team man. There's a dearth of all-rounders with no Ravi Jadeja and Hardik Pandya (not that he bowls anymore anyway) rested.
Possibe XI Rahul, Kishan, Rohit, Yadav, Pant, Iyer, Ashwin, Bhuv Kumar, Harshal Patel, Yuz Chahal, Avesh Khan
New Zealand could tinker
How the hell are the Kiwis expected to be motivated for a three-match series so soon after the defeat by Australia in the World Cup final? The scheduling is crazy so they may treat the series with the contempt it deserves.
Kane Williamson is out having decided to rest his elbow niggle with one eye on the more important Test series which follows. Tim Southee Trent Boult is not expected to be involved after opting out of the Test series.
Fringe players like Mark Chapman, Todd Astle and Kyle Jamieson should get a run out. Lockie Ferguson is fit again.
Possible XI Guptill Mitchell Seifert, Philips, Chapman, Neesham, Santner, Southee, Milne, Ferguson, Sodhi
Had enough of T20 contest decided by the toss of a coin? Look away now. At the Sawai Mansigh Stadium we have a bias for the chaser. Each of the last six have been won by the side batting second and it's nine in the last 14.
It should be a decent batting track, though. In the study period nine teams batting first have busted 160 or more. If there's a hangover from the World Cup we may well be able to go over on the par line in the low 160s.
Both teams to score 150 looks a bit of a gimme at 5/6. That's a winner in nine of the last 14, too. If New Zealand are feeling wretched still, taking big prices about big runs for India batting first could be shrewd. We're talking plus 190 and 200.
Kiwis are jaded
India are as short as 1.528/15 with New Zealand 2.8615/8. Ordinarily we'd be all over that New Zealand price. Not this time though.
We'll swerve the toss bias and ignore the strange India selection, fearful that it's just not right that an exhausted and emotionally-broken New Zealand side have to remain on the merry-go-round.
Also, we'll keep our fingers crossed that India bat second. We'd back them to chase anything here up to 200. We'll also be keeping our fingers crossed that India might drift to 1.705/7 in-play in the field in the first dig and go big.
Plenty going on with the side markets here. Ishan Kishan could be a price at 4/1 if our hunch is right and he opens the batting. With the pressure off, against a tired opposition and on a flat track, Kishan should be in his element.
We note ground form for KL Rahul and Sky Yadav in the IPL. They are 11/4 and 4/1 respectively.
For the Kiwis we like to get against Martin Guptill on the sub-continent. Take the 10/11 that he goes under 20.5. He averages 17.5 in 13 innings in India. Tim Seifert may even get the chance to open instead of him so the 9/2 has appeal.
With the ball, pacers dominate the wickets list so keep faith with death bowlers. Adam Milne at 3/1 for the Kiwis and Avesh Khan, excellent for Delhi, at 7/2 are prices worth snaffling.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye column p-l