HomeAnalysisAnalysis Of Indian Test Squad To Face New Zealand

Analysis Of Indian Test Squad To Face New Zealand

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The Indian cricket team is on a high post the ICC World Cup 2019 and is undefeated across formats in whatever series it has participated in.
Virat Kohli’s men sit atop the points table in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship. India has claimed 360 points from three series so far and is unbeaten to maintain a 100% record across seven Test matches.
Next up for Team India in the two-Test series against New Zealand. The first Test starts from February 21 onwards. Meanwhile, the second Test will start from February 29.
With 120 points on offer, the Test series bears the utmost significance. India will be aiming to do well and earn a series win. The 2-1 result against the Aussies in 2018-19 will serve as extra motivation.
Earlier this week, the Indian Test squad was announced. In the absence of Rohit Sharma (calf injury), youngster Prithvi Shaw was recalled to the side. Meanwhile, the other headline was that of Shubman Gill being retained.
Shaw, who was also called in for the ongoing ODI series in place of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, was in excellent form for India A against New Zealand XI.
Prior to that, he had also done well for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. His feats included a maiden double ton against Baroda. Shaw makes a return to the Test side for the first time since getting suspended for a doping violation.
Notably, pacer Navdeep Saini has also been included in the 16-member Test squad. Meanwhile, pacer Ishant Sharma will be dependent on his fitness approval to play the upcoming Test series.

Indian Cricket Test Squad:

Virat Kohli (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ishant Sharma (subject to fitness clearance).
Here we analyze the Indian Test team squad which will take on Kane Williamson-led New Zealand.

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Shaw or Gill? Who will open alongside Mayank in India’s Test team?

India Test cricket
The first major query that comes to the mind is who between Shaw and Gill will come in for Rohit and partner Mayank Agarwal.
Someone like a Shaw brings qualities of aggression under his belt. He is aggressive and plays in the same vein. The confidence while playing for India A will serve his purpose. He can get India off to a flier and attack from the word go.
It will be a challenge for Shaw though in conditions that assist swing. Moreover, he has played just three first-class matches (Ranji Trophy) since making a comeback. He has been seen playing List A and T20 cricket, in particular.
Shaw can stake a claim if he excels in the remaining two ODI matches. In the opener, he was dismissed for just 20.
On the other hand, Gill was part of the Indian squads that faced South Africa and Bangladesh at home. However, he was on the bench as a reserve Test opener.
Since he was already a part of the side, Gill deserves the call ahead of Shaw. He is solid in his approach and offers more than Shaw in this format.
The youngster slammed 83 and 204* in the first unofficial Test against New Zealand A. That will help him massively. Another substantial knock in the ongoing 2nd unofficial Test can tilt the clock towards his side.

Should India opt for 7-4 or a 6-5 strategy?

India Test cricket
The absence of Hardik Pandya as the pace-bowling all-rounder robs India of something concrete. With Pandya in, India look more balanced.
However, the management now need to think wisely in terms of picking the starting XI and getting the things right. Skipper Kohli favours a 6-5 combination (six batsmen and five bowlers).
However, being away from home, the call could be regarding a 7-4 strategy. If India choose the latter, then Hanuma Vihari will make a return to the line-up.
He was last seen against West Indies away from home and he delivered the goods with some powerful knocks. That could see India field three pacers and one spinner.
R Ashwin seems a better option as the lone spinner with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav/Ishant taking up the pacers’ slots.
On the other hand, if India opt for a 6-5 strategy, then the call will be interesting. Should they go in with both Jadeja and Ashwin as spinners? That leaves the same three-pace battery on offer. Or else, they could opt for four pacers and a spinner.
Given that Vihari can chip in with the ball, the 7-4 strategy seems more feasible and gives India the cushion with the bat.

Indian pacers will hope to replicate the magic away from home

India Test cricket
The Indian pace-bowling unit has been a revelation for the last two years. That is a major plus for Kohli. India performed well with the ball in South Africa (2018) and Australia (2018-19).
Against England as well, they had a decent shout. Visiting a fourth SENA nation in a period of just more than two years will bring confidence in the ranks.
Bumrah has been a menace away from home. Notably, he has played all of his Tests outside Asia since his debut in 2018. 62 wickets in 12 Tests at 19.24 is a laudable effort.
Shami has been a superb customer as well in terms of wickets for a while now. Shami has claimed 103 wickets in SENA and West Indies in 28 Test matches. His influence will be crucial.
Losing Ishant will be a major blow. He has been leading the pack for a while now and his performances in New Zealand have been commendable.
So if he fails to make the cut, someone like a Umesh Yadav will have to come in and fill the void. Umesh hasn’t been as prolific away from home and can concede runs.
Debutant Navdeep Saini comes in as the cover. India can use his pace and bounce to good effect.
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