India blanked New Zealand in the T20I series and the hosts hit back by whitewashing Virat Kohli and company in the ODI series. The action now shifts to Test cricket, a format which has been ruled by Team India over the past 15 months. However, the challenge against New Zealand in their own conditions will not be easy and much will depend on the side which is picked by Kohli and Shastri.
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Ahead of the first Test match, veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes young batsman Shubman Gill should be preferred over Prithvi Shaw as Mayank Agarwal’s opening partner. Shaw replaced Rohit Sharma in India’s Test squad, but Harbhajan believes Gill should be picked as he has been part of India’s set up for a while now.
“Shubman should get his chance since he has been part of the team (as reserve opener) for quite a while without playing any Test match,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by PTI.
Agarwal’s form can be a cause for concern for the Indian team. The opener, who made a prolific start to his Test career, bagged a pair for India A and then did not do justice to his potential in his maiden ODI series. However, Harbhajan believes Mayank had done enough to merit a long rope as an opener in Test cricket.
“Mayank is a proven player in Test cricket and a top batsman. He understands his game very well. Just because of three ODI innings and a practice game, you don’t drop him. It doesn’t work like that. He has been scoring lots of runs wherever he is playing, so I feel Mayank and Shubman should start in first Test,” Harbhajan said.
India will take on New Zealand XI in a three-day practice match before the first Test which begins in Wellington on February 21. The second Test is scheduled to be played in Christchurch starting February 29.Published 12 Feb 2020, 13:41 IST