India are set to kickstart the most important contests in their tour of New Zealand. India will play a two-match Test series against New Zealand after winning the T20I series 5-0 and losing the ODI series 3-0.
There are already questions on regarding India’s batting line-up for the first Test.
Cricwizz takes a look at the possible XI for the first Test against New Zealand at Wellington on Feb 21.
Three openers are vying for the two spots. Mayank Agarwal is confirmed for the one spot. The second spot is a toss-up between Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill. Prithvi may likely partner Mayank because the former is making a comeback after an injury in the tour Down Under and should get first preference ahead of Gill, who is yet to make his debut. Prithvi is also among the runs and scored a cameo in the practice match while Gill failed.
The middle-order is sorted with C Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and possibly Hanuman Vihari as India would like to strengthen their batting in the bowler-friendly conditions at Wellington. Besides, Vihari is fresh off a ton in the tour match. And Vihari can bowl as well.
Rishabh Pant may still have to cool his heels as W Saha is likely to claim the spot due to better wicketkeeping skills under the tough conditions at Wellington.
India will go with one spinner and it’s likely to be Ravindra Jadeja because the southpaw has better batting credentials than R Ashwin, who is not that great on the field as well.
Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah
It will be hard for India to leave out Umesh Yadav who was spectacular in the last home series against South Africa. But the experience of Ishant, Shami’s consistency and Bumrah’s precision makes it a deadly bowling conditions in New Zealand.
Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, C Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuman Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, W Saha, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah