Match Preview: Second String India aims to overshadow the Black Caps in the Kanpur Test
Ajinkya Rahane led second-string India will take on tactical New Zealand in the first test of the two-match test series starting from 25th November at Green Park Stadium in Kanpur. With this test there comes the last opportunity for Ajinkya Rahane to prove his mettle as a captain & batter for team India. Newbie Shreyas Iyer will make his test debut from this clash & will aim to showcase his capabilities to prove to his critics that he is beyond a white ball “IPL” specialist player.
“Shreyas Iyer will be making his debut but I can’t reveal anything about the combination,” skipper Rahane confirmed ahead of the match. It won’t be wrong to say that India will be playing with a second-string side as most of their senior members won’t be available for the first Test. Players such as Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, M Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested, while KL Rahul has been ruled out of the series due to injury. India’s Test Captain Virat Kohli too has been rested for the first test & will return for the second test match. However, the absence of key players gave a chance to newly appointed head Coach Rahul Dravid to check out the backup player’s strength before the start of India’s tour of South Africa.
Meanwhile, Rahane’s form is a concern for Rahul Dravid as the captain will be battling to save his career after an average of 19 in 11 Test matches in the current season. Two more failures could surely mean an end to Rahane’s career in the longest format of cricket. In a similar situation will be Ishant Sharma who didn’t look in good form during the net sessions and if Siraj is dropped from the eleven, the lanky pacer will once again need to prove that team management’s decision isn’t wrong.
On the other hand, Umesh Yadav remains a constant choice of selectors when a new ball bowler is considered. Shreyas Iyer who will make his debut in test cricket will look forward to making it count. A solid debut with an aggressive mindset might give him a shot at a permanent middle-order place in the future. With Shreyas handed with his debut means Suryakumar will have to wait for his dream tets debut. While it’s not known if Axar Patel’s workload is being managed but Jayant Yadav had an extended run in the nets under the watchful eyes of Dravid.
India’s spin department would be headed by Ravichandran Ashwin with Ravindra Jadeja & Axar Patel completing the spin department. Ravichandran Ashwin will look ahead to reaffirm his status as the world’s number one spinner who hadn’t received a chance to take the field during their last series.
Meanwhile, New Zealand will have to bounce back with stellar performances with both bat & ball to beat India on their home ground. The Balck Caps team will boost with the return of their captain who missed the T20I series to prepare for these crucial test series. His presence in the middle-order alongside Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls would be vital for the side. Trent Boult has been rested for the Test series and thus both Wagner and Kyle Jamieson could be seen playing the first Test. The Balck Caps will need to tackle India’s fierce spin attack if they want to win in India’s home condition. Keeping in mind the subcontinent pitches, New Zealand is likely to opt for at least two spinners out of three.
IND vs NZ 1st Test Predicted Playing XI
Here’s a look at the predicted playing XI of both sides:
Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Cheteshwar Pujara (Vice-captain), Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav
Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (WK), Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner