India’s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane on Wednesday spoke about opener KL Rahul missing the India vs New Zealand Test series due to an injury. Rahane admitted that Rahul will be dearly missed but also remained optimistic of other players filling his shoes.
While addressing a press conference on the eve of the first Test match at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur, Rahane said:
“See, it is a big blow. KL Rahul is not available for these two Test matches, he did really well in England. He was in good form and played really well. Obviously, we will miss him but we have guys who can fill that slot, guys who did well for us in the past. Not too worried about the opening slot.”
‘It is a big blow. We will miss him but not too worried’: Rahane backs youngsters to step up in IND vs NZ Test series
Apart from Rahul being forced to sit out, other Indian stalwarts will be missing. While Virat Kohli has skipped the first Test, only to return as captain in the second, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant have been rested.
Addressing this aspect, Rahane said this will be a good opportunity for youngster to prove their mettle.
“First of all, we will miss these three guys (Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma). But it is a good opportunity for all the youngsters to play, whoever gets an opportunity, they will look to play with freedom. This team is all about backing one another. Conditions here and conditions in South Africa will be different, first, we are thinking about this series,” he added.
Team India and the Black Caps are going to face off in a two-Test series. After blanking the Kiwis 3-0 in the recently-concluded T20I series, India will host the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Kane Williamson-led NZ have all to play for as they would look to bag their country’s first-ever series win on Indian soil.