Phase II of the Indian Summer begins today with the start of the 5-match ODI series in Napier - weather permitting. It's cricketing lore now that the farmers in the drought-prone Hawke's Bay rub their hands with glee when international cricket is scheduled for McLean Park, as it is a sure sign that rain is on the way! And whilst the forecast for Napier today is for occasional showers and a southerly change, we can but hope that this time, the forecasters get it wrong!
This match will be a step-up for both sides after the hit-and-giggle of the T20 series. A win to the Black Caps today could have a big effect on the progress of the series, and the test matches to follow. The Indians are sometimes not the best of travellers, and a third successive win to New Zealand today could dent their confidence.
On the other hand, the Indians are formidable, and will be even more so for the return to action of the Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar, the man who has scored more runs in both tests and ODI's than anyone else who has ever played the game. Students of the game will remember that it was at McLean Park where Tendulkar came close to scoring a maiden test century (dismissed for 88), which would have made him the youngest player to perform that feat. Tendulkar's youth at the time, and his longevity is highlighted by a look at the New Zealand team that opposed him - names such as Wright, Crowe, Rutherford, Smith, Jones, Greatbatch, Bracewell and Snedden - and a fellow by the name of Hadlee - ah, those were the days!
So thanks to the miracles of technology, the laptop will move to the lounge shortly before 2pm this afternoon, where work, blogging and cricket will be enjoyed in relatively equal portions. Who said men can't multi-task?