Having blanked New Zealand 3-0 in the T20I series, Team India will look to dominate the Kiwis in the two-match Test series as well. The first match of the series begins at the Green Park in Kanpur on Thursday, November 25.
India have an excellent record against New Zealand in home Tests. They have won 16 and lost only two Tests. As such, India would go into the series as favorites.
Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the hosts in the first Test since regular captain Virat Kohli has been rested. Kohli will be back as skipper for the second Test in Mumbai. For New Zealand, a refreshed Kane Williamson will take charge of the team after having skipped the T20I series.
These Indian cricketers made their Test debut in Kanpur
On the eve of the match, Rahane confirmed that Shreyas Iyer will make his debut in the Kanpur Test. Before Iyer, a few prominent names of Indian cricket also began their Test journey at the same venue. Take a look:
#1 Gundappa Viswanath - November 1969
One of the legends of Indian cricket, Gundappa Viswanath made his debut in the 2nd Test of the five-match series against Australia in November 1969. Viswanath had the worst possible start to his Test career as he was dismissed for a duck by Alan Connolly in the first innings.
However, he turned around his fortunes in incredible fashion, slamming a brilliant 137 in the second innings. The batter, who was renowned for his late cut, occupied the crease for over 350 minutes, during which he smashed 25 fours. His memorable innings ended when he was trapped lbw by Ashley Mallet as the Test ended in a draw.
Viswanath went on to have an illustrious Test career for India. He played 91 Tests and scored 6080 at an average of 41.93. The former batter hit 14 hundreds and 35 fifties during his career, with a best of 222.
#2 Farokh Engineer - December 1961
One of the most flamboyant characters of Indian cricket, dashing former wicketkeeper-batter Farokh Engineer also made his Test entry at the Green Park in Kanpur. Engineer debuted during the second Test of the five-match series against England in December 1961.
Batting at No. 9 in his first innings, Engineer made a typically defiant 33 before being stumped off Tony Lock. Batting first, India declared their innings on 467 for 8 as Polly Umrigar scored an unbeaten 147 and Vijay Manjrekar 96.
Engineer took two catches behind the wickets in England’s first innings as the visitors were dismissed for 244. Made to follow on, England hung on for a draw. Following an impressive debut, Engineer went from strength to strength.
He ended his career with 2611 runs from 46 Tests at an average of 31.08. Engineer scored two hundreds and 16 fifties. Behind the wickets, he took 66 catches and effected 16 stumpings.
#3 Dilip Sardesai - December 1961
Dilip Sardesai made his Test debut for India in the same match as Engineer. Batting at No. 7, he scored 28 runs before he was dismissed hit wicket. Sardesai looked good and hit four boundaries before being out in bizarre fashion.
He did not get another chance to showcase his batting skills in the Test as England batted out 184 overs in the second innings to draw the Test after being made to follow on. Sardesai went on to play 30 Tests for India and ended up scoring 2001 runs at an average of 39.23 with five hundreds and nine fifties.
He came to be known as Indian cricket's Renaissance Man as he revived his career in spectacular fashion, amassing 642 runs during the famous tour of West Indies in 1971, including his career-best of 212.
#4 Pragyan Ojha - November 2009
Former Team India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha made his debut in Kanpur during the second Test of the three-match series against Sri Lanka in November 2009. It was a decent first Test for Ojha as he claimed two wickets in each innings.
India batted first in the match and posted a mammoth 642 as Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid all hit hundreds. Ojha claimed 2 for 37 in Sri Lanka’s first innings. Legendary Sri Lankan batter Mahela Jayawardene was his first Test scalp and he also dismissed Muthiah Muralidaran later in the innings.
After Lanka were made to follow on, Ojha cleaned up Muralidaran in the second innings and also took the last wicket of the match, having Chanaka Welegedara caught and bowled.
Ojha had a decent India career in the longer format. He ended up playing 24 Tests in which he claimed 113 wickets at an average of 30.26 with seven five-fors and one ten-wicket match haul.
He was the man of the match in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test, claiming five wickets in both innings. Ironically, this turned out to be his last Test as well.
#5 Bharat Arun - December 1986
Former India pacer Bharat Arun made his Test debut against Sri Lanka during the Kanpur Test in December 1986. India bowled first after losing the toss and Arun was India’s most successful bowler, with figures of 3 for 76 from 27 overs.
Aravinda de Silva and Roy Dias were among his victims. Arun did not get another chance to bowl as India scored 676 for 7 in their first innings in response to Sri Lanka’s 420 and the match ended in a high-scoring draw.
Arun only played one more Test for India, against Sri Lanka in Cuttack in January 1987. He dismissed Asanka Gurusinha in the first innings and went wicketless in his second. India went on to win the match by an innings and 67 runs as Kapil Dev scored a fifty and picked up five wickets in the match. Arun ended his career with four wickets at an average of 29.
He gained fame as the Team India’s bowling coach under Ravi Shastri’s tenure as head coach. With Arun in charge, India put together a solid army of fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur also came to the fore towards the end of his stint.