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IND vs NZ 2021: India's predicted playing XI for the 1st Test

India v England - 4th Test: Day Three
India v England - 4th Test: Day Three
Sai Krishna
FEATURED WRITER

Action in New Zealand's tour of India shifts to the red-ball format, with the first of two Tests set to commence at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur on November 25.

Although India are without Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami for the series, and Virat Kohli for the opening match, they enter as the favorites. Several inexperienced players will get the opportunity to don the whites and kick off the first home series of the ongoing World Test Championship cycle.

India’s Test squad for the New Zealand series: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Virat Kohli (only for second Test)

Here is India's predicted playing XI for the first Test against New Zealand.


Openers: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal

India v New Zealand - ICC World Test Championship Final: Day 3
India v New Zealand - ICC World Test Championship Final: Day 3

With both Rohit and Rahul missing out on the series due to differing reasons, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal will open the batting for India. Gill was initially expected to slot into a middle-order role, but the youngster will look to recover from a brief blip in his Test career. Mayank, who has an extraordinary record at home, will want to continue in the same vein.


Middle Order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk)

Ajinkya Rahane in action during an India nets session
Ajinkya Rahane in action during an India nets session

India's veteran duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, who are vice-captain and captain respectively for the first Test, will have to shoulder the bulk of the batting responsibility.

Shreyas Iyer, who has an exceptional first-class record, is in line to make his Test debut, while Wriddhiman Saha should pip KS Bharat to the first-choice keeper's role. Saha remains India's trusted man with the gloves at home, where the spinners are expected to find purchase. He is likely to bat at No. 7, below Ravindra Jadeja.

Suryakumar Yadav was called up to the squad after Rahul's injury came to light, but the wristy batter will be behind Iyer in the pecking order.


All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel

India v England - 4th Test: Day Three
India v England - 4th Test: Day Three

An initial look at the Kanpur surface has revealed barely any grass cover, and the trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel will be licking their lips at the possibility of bowling in tandem. While Jadeja is returning to play a home Test series after a while, Ashwin and Axar wreaked havoc against England earlier this year.

Jayant Yadav has a decent Test record but should remain on the bench for now.


Bowlers: Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

England v India - Fourth LV= Insurance Test Match: Day Five
England v India - Fourth LV= Insurance Test Match: Day Five

Ishant Sharma has been India's most important Test pacer for a while now, but it might be time for him to take a backseat. Mohammed Siraj is in a rich vein of form, while Umesh Yadav has gone from strength to strength at home over the last few years. Ishant and Prasidh Krishna might carry the drinks for the first Test, with India all but guaranteed to go in with three spinners.


Edited by Sai Krishna
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