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How New Zealand worked to counter India's spinners

October 24, 2017 17:56 IST

'When we come to India it is obviously massive focus on spin.'

'I put little bit of work in terms of coming over here and playing spin.'

Tom Latham

IMAGE: Since arriving in India New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham has scored a half century and a ton in the warm-up games and a century in the first ODI in Mumbai. Photograph: BCCI

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham, who scored an unbeaten century in the team's surprise victory India in the first One-Day International, prefers playing the sweep shot against spinners rather than hitting them down the ground.

At the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday, the left-handed batsman relied on sweeps and reverse-sweeps to overcome the challenge posed by the Indian spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

"Everybody is different in the way they play spin in different conditions. I think the Indians play the different way; they are used to these conditions and they have got their game," said Latham on Tuesday.

"One thing that comes to me is the sweep that I have played throughout my career. It’s something that I find easier to play than hitting down the ground."

The southpaw, who was among the runs when the Kiwis toured India last year, was speaking to reporters on the eve of Wednesday’s second ODI in Pune.

"The other guys may find hitting down the ground easier. It’s important to have different game plans for different conditions and try and stick to that," the 25-year-old said.

He paid heed to the advice of senior pro Ross Taylor, who told him to use sweep and reverse sweep to disturb the length of Yadav and Chahal.

The middle-order batsman has had good run since arriving in India, scoring a half century and a ton in the warm-up games and following up with a century in the first ODI.

"I am not too sure (about the secret to success). We had a lot of preparation back home, coming out of the winter. When we come to India, it is obviously massive focus on spin and we were lucky enough to be here last year, so we knew a little bit how India played and watching them against the Australian team; so lot of work in terms of spin and playing in the middle.

"I put little bit of work in terms of coming over here and playing spin. On surfaces back home they were a little bit drier and quite responsive to spin. So, that was (part) of the preparation," he said.

Ross Taylor

IMAGE: Senior batsman Ross Taylor holds the key to the New Zealanders winning the ODI series as he has the experience of play in India. Photograph: BCCI

The Kiwis are on the cusp of winning their first series in India and Latham feels they have a chance to do that.

"It was obviously pleasing to make a contribution and be there till the end (in Mumbai). The partnership which me and Ross (Taylor) put on was vital for that and Ross played very well and deserves credit.

"It was nice to keep the communication lines going. We have got one more game starting tomorrow, and if we play some good cricket then hopefully we would give us a chance of winning the series," he said.

Latham is a specialist opener, who has moved down the order to five. He said he is pretty familiar with his current batting spot.

"No, not really! (Not difficult to adapt to the batting order). It was nice to have those two warm-up games beforehand and contribute in those games and start against spin. I have played in that position (No 5) before when I started playing for New Zealand.

"So it’s not a position which is unfamiliar to me. It was more of a tactical shift than anything. Coming in the middle when the ball is little bit softer and playing a bit more spin. It is nice that I adapted quickly."

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