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IND vs NZ 2021: India’s Probable Playing XI For The New Zealand Tests

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India will host New Zealand for a three-match T20I and a two-match Test series in the upcoming tour. The bilateral series will kickstart on November 17 with the T20I series in Jaipur, followed by two Tests in Kanpur and Mumbai.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Friday, announced India’s test squad for the series. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has been assigned captaincy in Virat Kohli’s absence for the first test match. Kohli has been rested for the tour and will join the squad for the second test in Mumbai.

Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Rishabh Pant are the other players, who have been rested for the test series. It will be interesting to see India’s playing combination in the test series, in absence of senior players.

On that note, let’s take a look at India’s predicted playing XI for the first test match against New Zealand.

1. KL Rahul

KL Rahul
Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

Opening batter, KL Rahul has been in great form this year, in white-ball as well as red-ball cricket. He has played four tests this year, all on India’s tour of England 2021. Rahul scored 315 runs at an average of almost 40 and was the second leading run-scorer for India in the series.

The opener won the Player of the Match award for his brilliant performance in the Lord’s test. With runs under the belt, KL Rahul will be confident going into the New Zealand test series.


2. Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill
Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

Shubman Gill has not played a lot of red-ball cricket this year. He played just one test, the ICC test championship final against New Zealand in Southampton in 2021. The opener did not have a great outing as he scored 36 runs in the Test.

Gill got injured after the WTC final and was ruled out of the England tour. As Rohit Sharma is rested for the NZ test series, Gill has got an opportunity to make a comeback to the test team.


3. Cheteshwar Pujara

Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara has not lived up to the expectations in Test cricket for India this year. He averages 31.11, scoring 591 runs in 11 test matches. The right-hander came under a lot of scrutiny for his inconsistent performance in the last few series.

Despite this Cheteshwar Pujara remains one of India’s batting mainstays in test cricket. Given his brilliant record at home, Pujara will be keen to do well against New Zealand.


4. Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane
Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

Ajinkya Rahane has been appointed as the stand-in captain for India in Virat Kohli’s absence for the first test match. He will be under immense pressure, coming into the series, owing to talks of dropping him from India’s Test squad.

Ajinkya Rahane has been highly inconsistent in the test arena for India, this year. He averages just 19.58 in 11 matches in 2021. The Indian stand-in skipper will be desperate to prove a point in the upcoming test series against New Zealand.


5. Mayank Agarwal

Mayank Agarwal India’s Predicted Playing XI For Test Series Against Australia
Mayank Agarwal. (Credit: BCCI)

Mayank Agarwal has been struggling for runs in red-ball cricket for India. He had a dismal average of 16.62 in 2020 and has just played one test in 2021. Mayank scored 47 runs in the test against Australia at Brisbane earlier this year.

The right-hander is likely to make his comeback for India in tests, in the absence of senior players and is expected to play in the middle-order.


6. Wriddhiman Saha

Saha

Wriddhiman Saha will take up the wicket-keeping duties for India against New Zealand, as Rishabh Pant has been rested for the series. Saha last played a Test for India in 2020, against Australia at Adelaide.

The wicket-keeper batter managed to score just 13 runs in that test and was dropped in the following test match. With spinners expected to play a major role in the test match, Saha’s impeccable wicket-keeping skills will be of utmost importance.


7. Ravindra Jadeja

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Ravindra Jadeja has had a decent year so far in Test cricket for India. He averages 24.33 with the bat, scoring 219 runs, and has taken 11 wickets in 6 test matches. The all-rounder has a great record in home conditions, where he averages 21.06 with the ball and 38.90 with the bat.

Jadeja will hold the key for India in the lower middle order in the test series against New Zealand.


8. Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin comes out to help people (PC- Skysports)

Ravichandran Ashwin must be disappointed to not play a single test on India’s tour of England, this year. The off-spinner was excluded from the playing XI for all the four test matches, as India chose to go in with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

This year, Ravichandran Ashwin has been the leading wicket-taker for India in test matches. He has picked 38 wickets in 6 tests, at an average of 18.03. Ashwin will be India’s biggest trump card against New Zealand in the upcoming test series.


9. Axar Patel

Axar Patel five-wicket haul India
Photo Credit: (Twitter/BCCI)

Axar Patel has been impressive for India in test matches at home this year. He is the second leading wicket-taker for the country, with 27 wickets in 3 matches, at an average of 10.59.

Axar Patel won the Player of the Match award during the Ahmedabad test against England, for his bowling figures of 6/38 & 5/32 in the test. He is also a very handy batter lower down the order. The all-rounder is likely to be India’s third spin bowling option in the series.


10. Ishant Sharma

India

Ishant Sharma has picked up 14 wickets in 7 test matches at an average of 28.79 this year for India. He was part of the Indian squad for the England tour. Ishant took five wickets in 2 matches but was dropped from the team in the next test.

In absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma will lead the Indian pace bowling attack.


11. Mohammed Siraj

Mohammed Siraj Net India
Photo Credit (AP)

Mohammed Siraj has been in good form for India in test cricket this year. He has taken 25 wickets in 8 test matches, at an average of 32. Siraj was India’s second-leading wicket-taker in England, 14 wickets in four matches, with 8/126 being his best bowling figures.

Mohammed Siraj is likely to play ahead of Umesh Yadav against New Zealand in the Test series.


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