BCCI announces 16-man squad for New Zealand Test series

BCCI announces 16-man squad for New Zealand Test series

Prithvi Shaw has got a Test call-up for the first time since injuring himself in Australia in November 2018.

Indian Cricket Team. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Over the last few days, there was a lot of murmur around the Indian team and its selection. They first announced the squad only for the five-match T20I series before naming the ODI squad a few days back. There was a lot of suspense over the Test squad as well.

However, it is reported that due to the fitness of a few key players, BCCI postponed the announcement of the ODI and Test squads. However, the Test squad is finally out and there seems to be no major surprise. The selectors have named a 16-man squad for the two-match Test series in New Zealand which is a part of the World Test Championship (WTC).

Prithvi Shaw has got a Test call-up for the first time since injuring himself in Australia in November 2018. A leg injury ruled him out of that tour before a doping ban kept him out for six months. He now returns to the Test squad to replace the injured Rohit Sharma who has been ruled out of the entire tour. He might have a direct shoot out with Shubman Gill to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order.

Meanwhile, Navdeep Saini has also been included in the side. The Delhi pacer has been very impressive with the way he’s bowled in white-ball cricket and even has a good first-class record. However, this isn’t his first call-up in Test cricket. He was included in the Test squad that toured the Caribbean but didn’t play a single game.

Ishant Sharma has been included as the 16th man but is subject to fitness clearance. The lanky pacer from Delhi injured his ankle in a Ranji against Vidarbha a couple of weeks ago. There were reports that he was advised ‘rest’ for six weeks and might miss the New Zealand tour. However, he’s been included in a five-prong pace attack which also includes Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav apart from Ishant and Saini.

The rest of the squad is also in expected lines with no big surprise. Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha continue to be India’s wicket-keeping choices in Test cricket. They’ve gone in with just two spinners – Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. Thus, Kuldeep Yadav has been left out. The likes of Chesteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will continue to form the heart of the Indian batting with Hanuma Vihari being at No. 6 or backup if India play five bowlers.

BCCI took to Twitter on Tuesday (February 4th) morning to announce the squad. A few of the top Indian Test stars are already in New Zealand. They will take part in the second unofficial Test against New Zealand ‘A’.