All eyes on Ajinkya Rahane as India take on New Zealand in first Test
- Ajinkya Rahane will captain the Indian side in the absence of Virat Kohli
- He is going through a poor spell of form
- A new looking batting line-up will step onto the field against NZ
The Indian cricket team is set to take on the New Zealand side in the first match of the two test series. All eyes will be on Ajinkya Rahane who will be captaining the side while battling with an existential batting crisis. He will step onto the field with a new looking Indian side in a match against the champions of the World Test Championship.
Rahane has been criticised by the fans, cricket commentators and experts alike. The skipper will be under immense pressure to perform and it might be the last we see of him in the Indian side if he performs below par.
Meanwhile, veteran Indian pacer Ishant Sharma who has 100 Tests under his belt will be stepping on the field once again with hopes that the upcoming young gun Mohammed Siraj does not take his place in the side.
In the batting department, Shreyas Iyer will be making his much-awaited Test debut hoping to reaffirm ‘Bombay School of Batsmanship’ who’s teachings go beyond the skills of white all cricket in the Indian Premier League.
Iyer’s debut was confirmed by Ajinkya Rahane on Wednesday. The skipper said, "Shreyas Iyer will be making his debut but I can't reveal anything about combination,"
With Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma being granted rest for the match and KL Rahul ruled out due to injury we will be seeing a new batting line-up on the pitch. Only Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal have played over 10 test matches for the Indian side.
An opening pairing of Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill are expected to open the batting for India in the absence of regular openers. Rahul Dravid will have to make some difficult choices.
Umesh Yadav will be the first-choice new ball bowler while Ishant Sharma’s form remains worrisome.
For the Kiwis Tim Southee and Neil Wagner will be teaming up with the left-arm spin duo of Ajaz Patel and Mitchell Santner in addition to William Somerville.
India’s squad for the first test match includes:
Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Jayant Yadav, Srikar Bharat (2nd wk), Prasidh Krishna
New Zealand’s squad for the first test match includes:
Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham (wk), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (wk), Will Young, Glenn Phillips (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Kyle Jamieson, William Sommerville, Ajaz Patel, Mitchell Santner, Rachin Ravindra.