New Delhi: The New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has apparently ignored coach Mike Hesson’s call for “green tops” in the upcoming home series against India and is instead preparing “sporting tracks” for the Auckland and Wellington Tests. An NZC official told IANS on Thursday that the authorities are keen that pitches not only for Tests but also for the preceding five-match one-day series, beginning Jan 19, should be challenging batsmen and bowlers alike.

“The series against India is massive for New Zealand cricket. It will be a great challenge to face one of the best teams in the world at home. We certainly would not like to see the match getting over in two days. We got a bigger responsibility to produce good wickets,” a top NZC official said, referring to popularity of the series and its financial implications.

The official said to be fair to Hesson, his demand for bowler-friendly wickets stemmed from India’s performance overseas in the last couple of years, a record of losing nine of their last 10 Tests. The last, tenth, Test was a draw.He, however, has a sneaky suspicion that green tops could backfire. “What if India win the toss and ask New Zealand to bat on a green top?”

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