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India vs New Zealand 2020, Test Series: It's a battle between Gill and Shaw for the second opener's slot

The contenders.
The contenders.
Svk Sengupta
ANALYST
Modified 19 Feb 2020
Feature
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The Indian team is all geared up to take on the Kiwis in a two-match Test series, starting from 21st of February, 2020.

The schedule for these two New Zealand vs India test matches are as follows.

1st Test: 21st February - 25th February in Wellington

2nd Test: 29th February - 4th March in Christchurch

The number 1 Test team in the world, India, will definitely try to justice to their ranking by winning this Test series in New Zealand. However the New Zealand team is very strong opponent in their own backyard and it will not be an easy task for the Indian team.

The 16-member squad that India selected for this series, is as follows.

Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain),Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ishant Sharma.

It consists of all the big names and looks very strong on paper. The squad has a perfect mixture of youth and experience with most of the talented youngsters like Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant and Navdeep Saini being included. However how many of them finally get a place in the playing XI needs to be seen.

One spot which is up for grabs is the second opener's slot, which got vacated because of star opener Rohit Sharma's absence due to injury. Which Indian young batsman will finally get the chance to fill this place has been the question on everyone's lips.

There are apparently three contenders, viz. Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill and Hanuma Vihari. Although Vihari scored a century in the practice match, but as he batted in the middle-order, it is more likely that he will get selected as the number 6 batsman and not as an opener.

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So the main fight will be between Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill.

Also read: India's predicted XI and key players

Tough choice

Mayank Agarwal.
Mayank Agarwal.

Mayank Agarwal will be India's automatic choice for the first opener's slot in this test.

However there is a tough fight for the second opener's slot which is vacant, because of Rohit Sharma's absence. The fight for this slot is between Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, two of India's most promising young cricketers. Both these players have huge potential and are touted to be future mainstays. Choosing only one of them will be a difficult task for the team management. What has made the job of the team management even tougher is the fact that both these players had a very ordinary outing in the 3-day practice match against New Zealand XI, where they got out cheaply in both the innings .

Also see – PSL 2020 schedule

If the team management goes by recent form, then Shubman Gill is the favourite to get the nod as he had an excellent series against New Zealand A, where he scored 204*, 83 and 136 with the bat. On the other hand, if the team management gives more importance to Test match experience and performance, then Shaw is likely to get the nod ahead of Gill, because of his previous experience of opening in Test Cricket and an incredible average of 118.5 in the two Test matches he played as an opener.

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This selection will surely be the greatest dilemma for the team management going into this series.

Rohit is out of the series.
Rohit is out of the series.
Published 18 Feb 2020, 23:57 IST
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