New Zealand has sent its fast bowler Michael Mason to India ahead of the forthcoming tour as part of its elaborate plans.
Mason is presently training at the MRF Pace Foundation under Dennis Lillee and is looking forward to the challenge of bowling to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar.
"I'm here to have a feel of the conditions and wickets and benefit from training under Lillee," said Mason. "I want to bowl up to my potential for the team's sake."
The 29-year-old fast bowler, who has modeled himself on Australian speedster Glenn McGrath, is likely to be the spearhead of New Zealand's attack in the absence of Shane Bond and Chris Cairns.
Mason has yet to play in a Test or one-day international but he did duty as 12th man against the Indians in the two Tests in Kiwiland last year.
"I have bowled to the likes of Sachin, Sourav [Ganguly], [Rahul] Dravid and [Virender] Sehwag in the past and had got them out a couple of times. I find no pressure in replacing Bond and bowling to one of the strong batting line-ups in the world," said Mason, who has taken 128 first class wickets from 38 first class games.
Mason is extremely accurate and a good swinger of the ball. He twice accounted for Tendulkar in side games in 1998 and 2002, but admits it wouldn't be easy to succeed on Indian wickets.
"I know Indian wickets are not suited for fast bowling. It's important I concentrate on swing and length rather than bowl fast at all times."
Mason supports Kiwi coach Ashley Ross's methods, which the latter intends to apply on the tour, including simulated noise in the background.
"I haven't experienced it myself and read it only in newspapers. But I think it's a good idea and deserves attention."
Mason was a late arrival in cricket as he worked in a dairy factory and could play on when shifts in duty permitted him. He is a country lad who loves hunting stags as a pastime. He was plagued by a shoulder injury and had keyhole surgery performed, in June, to reduce a cyst in shoulder, but is still in discomfort while throwing.
Mason is "excited and nervous" about playing in India.
"I look forward to the challenge of bowling to Sachin Tendulkar. He's not much fun to bowl at, especially with the old ball."
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