For the past 52 years, India haven’t registered a Test victory at Basin Reserve in Wellington. Their last and only Test win at this venue came in 1968 under the leadership of legendary Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, thanks to the veteran spin duo of Bapu Nadkarni and Erapalli Prasanna.
Now, being the No.1 side in the longest format of the game, all the hopes are on Virat Kohli-led team, which looks potentially good enough to break the 52-year streak at the Basin Reserve.
Even the overall record in New Zealand hasn’t been impressive for India. In the past 30 years, India have won just one of their 16 Tests which came at Hamilton in 2009. They won that three-match Test series 1-0 under the captainship of MS Dhoni.
Out of the last six subsequent visits at Basin Reserve, four times the hosts have defeated the visitors, while there have been two draws which came in 2009 and 2014.
Here’s India’s overall record in Wellington:
1968: India won by 8 wickets
1976: India lost by an innings and 33 runs
1981: India lost by 62 runs
1998: India lost by 4 wickets
2002: India lost by 10 wickets
In fact, ever since India started touring to New Zealand, the most successful series for them was their maiden visit in 1967-68, where the tourists won the 4-match series 3-1.
India in New Zealand Test series results:
Despite the poor history, the Indian skipper is of the opinion that the current team is more than capable of winning in New Zealand.
“We are not the same team that we used to be. We have a very complete squad now,” said Kohli ahead of the first Test.
“We have prepared in a manner where our fitness levels are such, and concentration levels are such that we can compete against anyone anywhere in the world, and that’s the kind of confidence we are going to carry in this series as well,” added Kohli.
Although, Kohli admitted the capabilities of the host side and said: “In New Zealand, it’s all about cricket discipline and what the team brings on the field. They’re very intense and very fit guys, and they can keep going all day and test your patience.”
“They’re very skilled bowlers and batsmen and brilliant fielders so they don’t give a lot to bank on or pounce on. You need to be wary of the chances that come your way and be focused enough to capitalize.”
The Indian batting will be crucial in the upcoming series, and it will be tested under unfamiliar conditions. Having said that, the kind of bowling unit India has, the Kiwi batters will also face the heat.
Speaking about Indian batting in New Zealand, then India’s legend Sachin Tendulkar has been the most successful batter. The Mumbai-born batsman has smashed 842 runs in 11 games with two hundreds and five fifties. In the current squad, only Kohli has scored the maximum runs. The 31-year-old has clubbed 214 runs in 2 matches with an average of 71.33.
When it comes to bowling, then the hero of India’s first-ever win at Basin Reserve; Prasanna tops the list with 35 wickets in just 7 matches. Amongst the current slot, right-arm pacer Ishant Sharma is the leader with 23 scalps to his name.