A captain battling existential crisis, a veteran pacer about to be phased out and a white-ball maverick trying to earn his red-ball stripes makes for a heady combination as Ajinkya Rahane’s second-string India aim to size up a gritty New Zealand in first Test starting on Thursday (November 25). Rahane, with his career on line, gets to lead India may be one last time while 100-Test veteran Ishant Sharma will be praying that young turk Mohammed Siraj doesn’t nudge him out.
Shreyas Iyer is set for Test debut and would like to reaffirm ‘Bombay (not Mumbai) School of Batsmanship’ whose philosophy transcends beyond the white-ball riches of Indian Premier League. “Shreyas Iyer will be making his debut but I can’t reveal anything about combination,” skipper Rahane confirmed ahead of the match.
It is indeed a rarity to find an Indian Test team that is without its hit opening pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. Also missing from line-up is skipper Virat Kohli and a genuine match-winning keeper-batter Rishabh Pant. But this also gives head coach Rahul Dravid a chance to check out what his back-up bench strength is before the away tour of South Africa which starts in less than a month’s time.
In the batting line-up for the first Test, only Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal have played more than 10 Tests. If Agarwal does well, that will keep KL Rahul on his toes and a good show from Shubman Gill will keep the team management interested in slotting him in the middle-order when the two regular openers come back.
If he plays the game of survival against a Tim Southee or bumper-happy Neil Wagner, it might bring about downfall but as Pujara said, ‘being a bit fearless’ will relieve him a bit from the gigantic pressure that’s on his shoulders to save his career.
Similarly, for Ishant, the senior-most player in the current set-up with 100 plus games and 300 plus wickets, the situation is getting bleak by the day. He didn’t look in good rhythm during the net session and if Siraj is dropped from the eleven, the lanky pacer will once again need to prove that team management’s decision isn’t a travesty.
Dravid made him negotiate short ball throw-downs from left-arm specialist Nuwan in order to simulate Neil Wagner’s round the wicket tactic. A solid debut with an aggressive mind-set might give them a shot at permanent middle-order place in future.
For Black Caps, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner will be the two pacers with left-arm spin duo of Ajaz Patel and Mitchell Santner along with off-spinner William Somerville likely to complete the attack.
India (from): 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) and Prasidh Krishna.
New Zealand (from): 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 and Rachin Ravindra.
When and what time will the India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1 start?
The India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1 begins on November 25 at 9.30 AM IST. The toss will take place at 9AM.
Where will the India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1 take place?
The India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1 will be held at the Green Park in Kanpur.
Which channel will telecast the India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1 in India?
The India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1 will be available on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, and Star Sports Hindi.
How to watch the live streaming of the India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1 in India?
The India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1 will stream live on the Disney+Hotsar app and website.
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