NZ pacers will challenge Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma: Mike Hesson

Unnikrishnan G

Bengaluru, January 22: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be challenged by New Zealand pacers in the upcoming series, beginning on Friday with the first T20I, feels former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson, who has been appointed as the head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore.

"For me, the match-up I am interested to see is how Virat Kohli deals with New Zealand seamers in his first 10-20 balls. If he can get starts in NZ, then his hunger for runs will make him difficult to dislodge Kane Williamson," Hesson was quoted as saying in the Times of India.

"New Zealand are very hard to beat at home as you can see by their recent record. I however see India having a far more suitable seam bowling attack than they had back in 2014 (the last time the two played Tests in NZ) which means this will be a very even and competitive series," he said.

"Trent Boult versus Rohit Sharma in ODIs will be a fascinating match up with a little bit of swing on offer. The New Zealand middle-order against the wrist spinners - Kuldeep and Chahal - will be the key middle-over match-ups. Hopefully, Trent (who is recuperating from an injury) will be back for ODI series as he is a key player for NZ in taking new ball wickets,
he added.

On KL Rahul as wicketkeeper batsman, Hesson said: "I believe KL is too good a player to not be in every white ball side India put out on the park. He is a good enough keeper to do the job in white ball. My only concern is the toll it will take on his body. If he can stay away from muscle injuries due to overload in a job he doesn't do all the time, then it will be great for the team. Having said that, he keeps regularly for Karnataka and that will aid his preparation."

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