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New Zealand to go with four pacers against India: McCullum



Napier, Jan 18 (IANS) Skipper Brendon McCullum said Saturday that New Zealand would unleash a four-pronged pace attack against India in the first ODI here Sunday.

McCullum believes the pitch at the McLean Park pitch will suit his fast bowlers and it would be perfect strip to "unleash a bit of pace" on India, who are coming from a tough tour of South Africa.

"I guess we are leaning towards it (playing four quicks) at this stage. Obviously we'll see how everyone pulls up through training as well, but I think it will be quite nice to unleash a bit of pace in this opening game and then try and be aggressive and as hostile as we can with ball in hand," said McCullum.

The New Zealand captain was keen to restrict the Indians with aggressive bowling.

"We are incredibly respectful of how good this team is that we are coming up against. India have obviously performed well for a long period of time and they have got an outstanding batting line-up in particular. We know it's a huge challenge for us," he said.

McCullum said the home conditions are in favour of New Zealand.

"The good thing from our point of view is we are playing at home and in conditions that we are familiar with and we think we are starting to play some decent cricket as well as a side. There certainly is no directive in terms of trying to take these guys on from a verbal point of view. It's more about making sure we play good cricket and try and expose some weaknesses, if there are any, in their batting line-up, and obviously try and build some momentum early in this series – five games in 12 days, if you can get early momentum, it is certainly going to help," he said.

Asked about India's problems against Dale Steyn, McCullum was quick to acknowlegde the prowess of the South African speedster. 

"Dale Steyn is a world-class bowler and has been for a number of years. He has been successful against pretty much everyone in world cricket. We haven't got the bowlers at that level yet – who knows what will happen in a couple of years if we keep developing them – but at this stage, we are still learning a little bit about some of our bowlers.

"In terms of the Indians and how they responded in South Africa, I think they still played pretty good cricket at times. They are not ranked where they are for no reason. They are obviously successful and excellent players. We are very respectful of them. It doesn't mean we don't think we have not got areas where we can attack them but we are very respectful of how good these guys are and know that for us to win this series, we have to play our best cricket of the summer," he said.

McCullum said that young fast bowler Adam Milne, who has been included in the squad, will play if the wickets suit him. 

"If we get a fast wicket, Milne will play. Still mindful of the fact that he is young in terms of the experience that he has got and obviously bowling at the pace at which he does as well, that can bring about injuries. We have to make sure we use him when the conditions suit him best.

"We have got other options as well. We have got (Kyle) Mills and (Tim) Southee who are more than capable of bowling with the new ball and obviously Milne can bounce between the new ball and first change. We just have to work out the right balance and play to the strengths of those guys," he said.

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