IND vs NZ: Shreyas Iyer receives maiden Test cap in Kanpur from Sunil Gavaskar, kisses it emotionally

IND vs NZ: Shreyas Iyer receives maiden Test cap in Kanpur from Sunil Gavaskar, kisses it emotionally

Iyer became the 303rd India men's Test player.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Shreyas Iyer became the 303rd men’s Test player for India, as he received his debut cap from the legendary Sunil Gavaskar on a hazy morning at Kanpur’s Green Park on November 25, ahead of the start of the first India-New Zealand Test.

Iyer, who made his international debut in 2017, has represented India in 32 T20Is and 22 ODIs, scoring 580 at 27.61 and 813 at 42.78, respectively, while he is a veteran of 54 First-Class matches, having amassed 4592 runs at an impressive 52.18, including 12 centuries and 23 half-centuries.

Iyer kissed his cap upon receiving it from Gavaskar, who addressed him in the team huddle alongside head coach Rahul Dravid before Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and opted to bat, including three spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja alongside Axar Patel. Ashwin-Jadeja were New Zealand’s nemesis on their last Test tour (2016) when the duo scalped 41 wickets combined – including 16 of 20 wickets between them in Kanpur – in India’s 3-0 triumph.

“Looking to bat first – pitch looks really good,” India’s stand-in skipper, Ajinkya Rahane, said at the toss. “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 gave a debut cap themselves – to southpaw Rachin Ravindra, who has represented the Black Caps in six T20Is thus far, having made his international debut against Bangladesh. Ravindra averages 38.90 with the bat in 28 First-Class matches, while he has picked 25 wickets with his left-arm spin. He joined frontline spinners, Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville, alongside two pacers in Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee.

“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,” New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said.