New Delhi. India is to play the first Test match (India vs New Zealand) against New Zealand in Kanpur from 25 November. Before the first test match, the Indian team has suffered a big setback. Team India’s opener KL Rahul has been out of the series due to injury. In his place, Suryakumar Yadav has been included in the team. Ajinkya Rahane will have to take some big decisions for the first Test against the world champion New Zealand team. It is certain that Shubman Gill will now open with Mayank Agarwal in the first Test, but it is not decided who will bat at No. 4? Rahane and coach Rahul Dravid had to choose between Shreyas Iyer or Suryakumar Yadav, but a day before the match, Ajinkya Rahane gave a statement regarding Shreyas Iyer’s debut.
Before the start of the Test series against New Zealand (IND vs NZ), the biggest question that India had was who would play at number 4? The middle order is already looking weak due to the absence of Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant and apart from this, KL Rahul has also been out due to injury. To fix this, apart from Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav has joined Team India as an alternative. It was decided that either of them would make his Test debut, but Rahane has clearly said in the press conference that Shreyas Iyer is going to debut.
Shreyas Iyer has not been able to score many runs after surgery
Shreyas Iyer is struggling since his shoulder surgery. He hasn’t scored too many runs to cement his claim back in the team. Also, he has been on the radar of the selectors for a long time. On the other hand, Suryakumar Yadav, who was called as a backup option on the England tour, has also not played any red-ball cricket in the last two seasons.
Shreyas Iyer or Suryakumar Yadav? decision taken
Shreyas Iyer has a great player in the domestic circuit. He has scored over 4,500 runs at an average of 52.18 with a strike rate of 81.54, including 12 centuries and 23 half-centuries in 54 matches. However, like many newcomers to the Test team, Shreyas Iyer has not played any red-ball cricket in the last 24 months. The last time he played a first-class match was in the Irani Cup in 2019. As far as Suryakumar Yadav is concerned, he doesn’t have a great record like Iyer, but his current form is something that will help. His white-ball form has been commendable and as India is looking for someone who can keep the runs on the scorecard. But caretaker captain Ajinkya Rahane has made it clear that Shreyas Iyer is going to debut. In such a situation, he is expected to bat at number 4.
Bowling combination will depend on the pitch
A lot will depend on how the Kanpur pitch is prepared. India last played a Test match in 2016 and since then India has played only one T20 International and one ODI in 2017. Given the recent history of Green Park, the turf is expected to help the spinners. In such a situation, Team India is expected to have three spinners in the line-up. Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel are the two sure-fire spinners, while Ravindra Jadeja will play the role of the all-rounder.
Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Siraj set to play
For the pace department, India will have Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Siraj, who are definitely expected to feature in the playing XI. The situation on the day of the match will decide whether Ajinkya Rahane wants to go with three fast bowlers or three spinners. If he wants to go with three spinners, then Axar Patel will be part of the team. But if the pitch and conditions favor the fast bowlers, Umesh Yadav will be the third fast bowler.
In the batting department, Shubman Gill is expected to open with Mayank Agarwal while Cheteshwar Pujara will take on the No. It will be followed by Shreyas Iyer at No. 4, Ajinkya Rahane at No. 5 and Wriddhiman Saha at No. 6 as wicketkeeper in the absence of Rishabh Pant.
Team India’s probable playing XI for the first test match may be like this:
Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammad Siraj, Ishant Sharma.