New Zealand coach Andy Moles has hailed India as the best side in the world ahead of Wednesday's Twenty20 opener in Christchurch.
India performed poorly on their most recent tour of New Zealand in 2002-03 but Moles believes they have since improved markedly on their travels.
The former Warwickshire batsman, who took over from John Bracewell as Black Caps coach last November, has been impressed by India's more recent displays, particularly in Australia.
"Certainly in the past Indian teams haven't toured too well but I think they have put a lot of that to bed over the last couple of years," said Moles.
"They have started to do well. They did really well in Australia last year.
"If you look at the way they've played all over the world in the last 18 months. They have gone round the world and at home and they've played very, very good cricket.
"They have got some explosive players and they are obviously coached really well.
"(The tour) is coming at a time that should be a really good test for us and it's really exciting for New Zealand cricket and I know the players and support staff can't wait for the series to start.
"(Captain) Daniel Vettori, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, these senior guys need to step up and they are aware of that.
"They see it as a fantastic opportunity to show their wares as well. For us to perform well we need our senior players to play well."
India's tour includes two Twenty20 internationals, five one-dayers and three Tests, all packed into six weeks.
Oram will play as a batsman only, although Moles is hopeful the all-rounder will be able to bowl again in time for the first one-day international on March 3 as he continues his recovery from an Achilles problem.
The hosts are also waiting on batsman Ross Taylor, who must pass a fitness test on his hamstring injury.