The first Test between India and New Zealand begins at Kanpur on Thursday and it will be an opportunity for some of India’s second rung stars to stake a claim for a place in the Test side. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are both unavailable for the first Test, while Rohit has been rested for the entire series, Kohli will come back for the second match in Mumbai. India’s worries have been compounded after KL Rahul was ruled out of the series due to an injury on Tuesday and that means the plans to test Shubman Gill in the middle order will have to wait for a bit as he will now have to open the innings with Mayank Agarwal. Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane has confirmed that Shreyas Iyer will make his debut in the match. It will be interesting to see whether India play three spinners against the Blckcaps or not.
Here is the Team India predicted XI according to us for the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur
1) Mayank Agarwal: Another opportunity for the Karnataka batsman to cement his opening slot. He was sidelined after a double failure in Australia and that was a bit harsh. But he has to make the most of this opportunity as competition for the opening slot is high and intense.
2) Shubman Gill:The youngster has shown great promise but he hasn’t gone on to get a big score. Soem would say it is a matter of time but time ticks by quickly. Gill must get a century in this series.
3) Cheteshwar Pujara:Indian batting line-up’s ‘rock’ showed he could score quickly too in England and this has definitely shut his critics. A barren run without a single Test century for close to three years is a concern but under Rahul Dravid, Pujara is expected to get his due respect and reward.
4) Ajinkya Rahane: Ajinkya Rahane needs runs under his belt and that too consistently. Dravid’s presence should help him and he should answer his critics with the bat.
5) Shreyas Iyer: Rahane has confirmed Iyer will make his Test debut at Kanpur and it is a great opportunity for the Mumbai batsman. A good performance from him could actually pace the way for Rahane’s exit if the stand-in captain fails to fire.
6) Wriddhiman Saha: A rare opportunity for the veteran in Rishabh Pant’s absence. He will look to make the most of it.
7) Ravindra Jadeja: Needs to bring his A game to the table with bat and ball. Will be interesting to see him perform alongside two other top quality spinners.
8) Ravichandran Ashwin: India’s biggest match winner in Test cricket. With his white-ball career revived, it is time for Ashwin to carry the confidence in the Test arena and do what he does best at home – dismantle the opposition batting line up.
9) Axar Patel: Axar Patel was at his devastating best against England at the start of the year. A similar performance is needed against the Kiwis who are better batsmen of spin that England.
10) Mohammed Siraj: His rise has been meteoric and the team management could trust him to handle the new ball.
11) Ishant Sharma/Umesh Yadav: Both have been great performers for India over the years. Umesh’s effectiveness on Indian pitches in undeniable and his performance in England could get him the nod.
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