India captain Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and opted to bat against New Zealand in the first Test at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium on Thursday. Besides a debut for Shreyas Iyer, Rahane revealed that India had included three spinners in their Playing XI in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.
Surprisingly, there was no place for Mohammed Siraj as Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma were given a place as the two fast-bowling options. Umesh is playing his 50th Test, and partnering him is Ishant, who got the nod ahead of Siraj.
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“Pitch looks really good. It generally slows down later on here. It’s an opportunity for all of us here to do well here and in Mumbai. Few of the senior guys are missing. So it’s an opportunity for the youngsters. Shreyas is making his debut. We are all excited to play under the new coaching staff. I personally enjoy playing under Rahul bhai. New Zealand are a quality side. 3 spinners, two seamers,” captain Rahane said at the toss.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson confirmed the debut of Rachin Ravindra and spoke about how his elbow is holding up.
“We would have batted first as well. But we got the ball in hand first, so it’s important we get some early wickets. Looking forward to this challenge. It’s mixed (the elbow injury), but it’s okay. Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville have done well previously. We are going in with two spinners, two pacers and a spinning all-rounder debut in Rachin Ravindra,” said Williamson.
New Zealand Playing XI: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (Captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (WK), Rachin Ravindra, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Kyle Jamieson, William Somerville
India Playing XI: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yada