After a historic win against Australia on their home soil, India will be up against the Kiwis in a five-match ODI series followed by three T20 Internationals starting from January 23, 2019 (Wednesday). It promises to be a cracking contest between two of the top ODI sides in the world. 

The Black Caps are a tough team to beat, more so in their den. They are fresh after comprehensively beating a hapless Sri Lankan side in each and every format of the game in the recently concluded home series. 

The Kiwis' form in the recent past makes them deadly dangerous particularly in the coloured jersey and India will need to be very wary of that. The Men in Blue may have beaten Australia, but the challenge 2,365 km away at the Mclean Park, Napier is expected to be tougher. 

MyNation brings to you the 5 reasons why the upcoming series against New Zealand will test the  Men in Blue more than they were in Australia. 

1. New Zealand's recent form

If we switch the clock back to the year 2014, a year before the last World Cup, not many cricket-pundits thought the Black Caps would get their hands on the coveted trophy. However, what followed after that was nothing short of remarkable. Former skipper Brendon McCullum had injected the art of winning in this team, which has been carried forward by their current skipper Kane Williamson superbly well. 

Their recent form against Pakistan and Sri Lanka is yet another example of what this team is capable of. They not only stamped their authority on the opposition but also ensured the other countries stood up and took notice. In these circumstances, India will definitely need to play their best cricket to upstage New Zealand.

2. All departments covered

It wouldn't be wrong to say that the Kiwi squad looks pretty much settled, unlike India. Having announced their 14-man squad recently, the selectors have not only made some interesting inclusions but also have all departments covered. With three solid opening combination options, to a choice between all-rounders, to choosing their bowlers, the team looks solid. 

The team management and the skipper will have a happy headache to choose their final eleven. More importantly, all of New Zealand's players are in top form. It will be interesting to see how India adapts to the pressure. 

3. The seventh spot conundrum

With Hardik Pandya not in the scheme of things for this upcoming tour, the seventh spot conundrum will continue to haunt India in the limited overs series. Though in the absence of Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja has been India’s best option to fill that spot but having him in the squad leaves one of the two wrist spinners from the playing eleven which builds undue pressure on the team in the middle overs. 

To get over this difficulty, the team management also tried Vijay Shankar in the last ODI game against Aussies. However, the 27-year-old Tamil Nadu all-rounder still remains a rookie. With the seventh spot being one of the most important spots in the playing eleven, India may struggle against the quality team like New Zealand. 

4. No time to asses the conditions

Geographically Australia and New Zealand are neighbours and the conditions are expected to be pretty similar as is the case in Asian countries. However, the conditions in New Zealand are expected to be slightly different to what was offered in Australia. In this scenario, India may struggle at the start of the tour which eventually will make their winning probability tougher. 

Though the ground size in comparison to Australia will be shorter, as the country is located near the Tasman Sea, the wind flow will be more which eventually will result in more swing for the bowlers. Further, the wickets will have a little extra bounce, which will test the Indian batsmen, but will also help them to fine-tune their skills on bouncy tracks as they head for the World cup in England which is less than five months away. 

5. The problem of the sixth bowling option 

In New Zealand, it is difficult to convert ones into twos and twos into threes, but clearing the boundary ropes isn't that tough. So, it is always better to have an extra bowler who can be used in place of one who is having an off day. 

However, the absence of a sixth bowler will continue to trouble India as they only have spinning options for that slot. It will be important for Virat Kohli use Kedar Jadhav or Ambati Rayudu if required.