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New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott today said that hosts India are clear favourites going into the ICC World T20 but that will also put enormous pressure on the ‘Men In Blue’. (Kane Williamson Says India Are Favorites To Win 2016 World Twenty20)
“India obviously go in as tournament favourites, which I guess, puts a lot of pressure on them. Having home support has its advantages, but there are negative points also. Especially in India I guess the expectations are high,” Elliott said during team’s ‘Open Media Session’.
Elliott, who will be playing in his first World T20 event, said his stint in the inaugural Pakistan Super League, held in the UAE, for Quetta Gladiators was beneficial.
“Pakistan Super League was great. It was a very good experience and my first experience with franchise cricket. Nathan McCullum came over a little bit later, but we reached the finals. It was a very good tournament and some really high quality players played in it.”
Talking about the upcoming World T20 opener against India at Nagpur, Elliott said while the home team had world class players, his team, too, had men to play well in these conditions.
“India are obviously a world class team with guys (spin bowlers) like (Ravindra) Jadeja, (Ravichandran) Ashwin, and back-up bowlers like (Suresh) Raina and Yuvraj (Singh). We will wait and see how the conditions are like. We have got batsman suited to these conditions.”
Meanwhile, 24-year-old slow left arm orthodox bowler Santner said he is keenly looking forward to the game against India.
“Definitely excited to play a team like India at (their) home. It is going to be a tough challenge. We have been preparing well as a team and we have plans, we are going to come out fresh and going to execute our plan,” he said.
Asked about any specific adjustments he will doing for wickets in the sub-continent, especially in India, Santner said wickets (in India) are being more spinner-friendly rather than New Zealand’s flat (pitches). (I will) Try and spin the ball more, perhaps you get more assistance here…”
“Our first game is against India and there are world class players (of) off-spin, its quite tough there, we are going to stick to the game plan,” he added.
Praising hard-hitting opener Martin Guptill, Elliott said New Zealand is benefiting for the faith shown in him by the selectors.
“He went through a tough time. But the selectors were confident and stuck with him. New Zealand cricket is reaping the benefit. We are very fortunate to have someone as explosive with him at the top. He will be one of the senior batters in the team. We are seeing someone who is really maturing as a player.”
Another South Africa-born teammate Colin Munro, who made his T20 debut in 2012, said he prefers batting at number three as it gives him more freedom.
“I prefer batting at three because its give me more freedom than at 6 and 7. At number three I can go out and play my natural game, so number three suits my game,” said the left handed batsman.
“India is going to be a tough (side), playing in their conditions. They are playing very good cricket at the moment as well. But we are worried about our preparations.”
The 28-year-old player said that retired Brendon McCullum, who was aggressive both in his batting and approach as captain, had asked him to adopt a similar approach.
“The biggest thing he (Brendon McCullum) said to me was to take the aggressive option. Both McCullum and (current captain Kane) Williamson take the aggressive option (as captain). Obviously Kane is going to bring his own style into the game, the way he leads. Kane has learnt a lot from Brendon,” he added.
According to Santner, he has been working more on his batting as well. “I have been working little hard on my batting initially. I guess my (batting) performances have shown a little bit (of this),” he added.
On legendary Kiwi spinner Daniel Vettori, he said, “I was lucky enough to play few games with him (Vettori). He told me about tactical side of bowling. I spoke to him about a month ago about bowling in general.”