It is often said that the shorter the format, the more dangerous the underdogs become. Although New Zealand don't have the 'favourites' tag heading into the two Twenty20 Internationals against India, they are well aware of one important fact: they have a clean slate against India in the T20 format. Keeping that going is reason enough to stay motivated after losing the Test series 0-2.
"It is a record we'd love to keep. But then, none of those wins came in India or in the subcontinent, that is the most important thing," said Ross Taylor. New Zealand have emerged comfortable winners in each of the three previous meetings against India. While the first one was at the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 in South Africa, the other two came in New Zealand in 2009.
"We all know India are a tough team to beat at home. Daniel Vettori and Jacob Oram will add to our strength, it should be a good series," added Taylor.
The two T20Is will be the closest to conditions New Zealand will encounter in Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20 2012 that will start on September 18. Taylor said they'd like to give some young players an opportunity, but not at the cost of experience. "We'd like to rest a few players players who played the Test matches, over the two games, but that doesn't take away our focus on winning."
Taylor emphasised that it was important for the team to stick to their strengths and not worry too much about the opponents. "We'll field the best team for the conditions," he said. "It is important for us to focus on our game. I think we know the conditions in India a lot better now courtesy the IPL (Indian Premier League), so that should help us."
Taylor was also warm in his appreciation for Yuvraj Singh, who is expected to make a comeback in the match.
"Wonderful to see Yuvi back. It is a great accomplishment to bounce back from an illness like cancer, like the way he has. Off the field, we're all good friends but on the field, we'll play hard and be competitive."