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India vs New Zealand Test Series Preview

Team India's Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot
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After a 3-0 whitewash in the T20’s, the attention now turns to the Test series where the Men in Blue have unfinished business with the Blackcaps after their defeat in the final of the World Test Championship earlier this year. There are plenty of fresh faces in the India squad for these two matches, and here are three things to look out for in this Test series against the World Champions.

Under pressure Ajinkya Rahane


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A post shared by Ajinkya Rahane (@ajinkyarahane)

Ajinkya Rahane will captain India in the first test in the absence of Virat Kohli, and the right-hander will be under immense pressure to perform in this series after suffering a poor run of form in Test cricket in recent years. Rahane has just two 50+ scores in 19 Test innings in 2021, and his career average dipped below 40 for the first time in the series against England.

However, the last time Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli both missed a Test match for India, Rahane scored a match-winning 112 at the MCG, and the Indian vice-captain might need to recreate those heroics against the Kiwis to keep his spot in the Indian team safe for a little while longer.

Shubman’s chance to shine


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A post shared by Ꮪhubman Gill (@shubmangill)

With Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant rested and KL Rahul missing the Test series due to a thigh injury, India are left with only three batters – Rahane, Pujara and Mayank Agarwal – with more than ten Tests experience for these two matches.

The absence of India’s senior batters gives Shreyas Iyer a chance to make his debut in the middle order at number five while also restoring Shubman Gill to the lineup at the top of the order. Gill has only played eight Tests so far in his nascent career, but with India’s more established players rested, there is more responsibility on his young shoulders to make an impact.

Gill lost his place in the Test playing XI to KL Rahul in the England series, but the Punjab batter could reclaim his spot in the side as an opener or in place of Rahane at number five with a statement performance against the World Champions.

Ashwin-Axar-Jadeja Spin Trio


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A post shared by Ashwin (@rashwin99)

While India have rested their senior batsmen and pacers for this series, the one area which remains at full strength is the spin department, with Ashwin, Axar and Jadeja likely to play together for the first time in Test cricket. 

Ashwin and Jadeja have been the cornerstone of India’s home domination in recent years, decimating opposition line-ups with the ball while also providing enviable balance to the team with the bat. Adding Axar Patel to the mix after his 27-wicket series against England makes India an even more formidable unit at home, and these three finger-spinners hold the key to India’s fortunes in this Test series against New Zealand.


[Featured Image Credit: ANI]