Describing New Zealand as a force to reckon with on home turf, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said his team will not be taking the Black Caps lightly in the upcoming ODI series, starting January 19.
"New Zealand are a fantastic side. They've got good bowlers and their recent performances have been really good. And especially at home, they'll know the conditions better than us and for some who have not played here it will be a challenge," Dhoni was quoted as saying by 'The New Zealand Herald'.
The Indian team arrived in Napier on Monday for the five-match series, which will be followed by two Tests next month.
"We're not taking New Zealand lightly; we'll give them the respect they should get and we know their experienced players are dangerous enough to win games by themselves," Dhoni said.
The skipper feels the tour will be a good exposure trip for his teammates as they start preparing for the World Cup, to be staged in New Zealand and Australia next year.
"It's good exposure for them. The grounds here are a very different shape and it's difficult to exactly pinpoint the fielding positions. They are quite different to where you usually place your fielders. Overall, it'll be a fantastic tour for all the guys," he said.
Dhoni said he is hoping for a good performance from his bowlers.
"Overall, I'm quite happy with the bowlers. Again, it really depends on the conditions. But if the wicket is favouring the fast bowlers we've definitely got bowlers who can make the most out of the new ball," he said.
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com