Napier: Describing New Zealand as a force to reckon with on their home turf, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that his team will not be taking the Black Caps lightly in the upcoming ODI series starting January 19. (Read)
"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 here on Monday for the five-match series which would be followed by two Tests in February.
"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 would 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.
India will play five ODIs and two Tests, but no T20 Internationals, after the schedule was reduced, including one Test being lopped off.
But Dhoni played it down saying it was an administrative decision.
"I haven't a clue," he said to the no-T20s question.
"I'm someone who lives in the present. I always think about the stuff that's in my control. It's more of an administrative decision, so there's no point thinking why T20 is not there, why there's one test less than last time we came here."
Apart from Dhoni, seamers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are the only other players from India, who played here in 2009, but the skipper said he was not too worried about that.
"Looking at how the guys are shaping up gives me a very positive vibe. That shifting over has happened very well. Overall I'm happy with how the batting unit has performed," said Dhoni.