India vs New Zealand: India's strongest predicted playing XI for 1st Test

India vs New Zealand: India’s strongest predicted playing XI for 1st Test

With a few crucial players missing out there will be certain obvious changes in the Playing XI.

India. (Photo Source: BCCI)

After dominating the proceedings in the three-match T20I series, India is all set to take on New Zealand for the two-match Test series. The first Test is scheduled to take place on Thursday, November 25 at Green Park, Kanpur.  The two teams last locked horns in the longest format during the inaugural final of the World Test Championship wherein the Kiwis were crowned as the champions.

Virat Kohli will be unavailable for the first Test and will return to the set up in the second and last Test in Mumbai. In his absence, Ajinkya Rahane will take on the responsibility of leading the team. Opener KL Rahul, who had recently displayed his flair in the Test series against England, has been ruled out with an injury.

With the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit Sharma, and Rishabh Pant, India will miss some key players. However, the team’s record at home has been an exception and the side will be aiming to reflect the same. With a few crucial players missing out there will be certain obvious changes in the Playing XI.

Here is India’s predicted playing XI for IND vs NZ first Test:

Openers- Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill

Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

There was a lot of discussion on India’s opening pair for the New Zealand Tests. However, with KL Rahul ruled out of the series, the equation has become quite obvious. Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill will take the opening guard for the team and will aim to lay a strong foundation for the side.

Agarwal has enjoyed some good success at home in the red-ball games. He will be all geared up to make the most of the two Test matches and cement his place in the side. Gill, on the other hand, has had a decent outing in the longest format ever since his debut. The stylish batter will aim to make a larger impact on the side.

Middle Order- Shreyas Iyer, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

India’s middle-order has enough depth and belief in it. As Ajinkya Rahane confirmed ahead of the match, Shreyas Iyer is all set to make his Test debut. His abilities will be tested at the middle-order where the team has faced a considerable struggle in the recent past.

Though Cheteshwar Pujara hasn’t appeared to be at his absolute best lately, his record against New Zealand is quite impressive. The batter has chipped in 772 runs at an average of 43 from the last ten matches against the opposition. It will be a testing time for Pujara to chime in with some impressive shows for the side.

Ajinkya Rahane has witnessed a dismaying form with the willow lately. His average at home is also not that great. But his technique and repertoire are known to all. The stand-in skipper will take this as an opportunity to find his mojo back and make important contributions for the side. Keeper batter Wriddhiman Saha, on the other hand, is an experienced campaigner and his services in crunch moments will be crucial for the side.

All-rounders- Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin 

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Ravindra Jadeja has emerged as one of the promising all-rounders for the team across formats. Along with his economical spells, he also possesses the ability to hold the fort of the side with the bat.

Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the most pivotal cogs of team India’s wheel. The off-spinner was exceptional for the team in the previous home Test series against England. He not only displayed his fiefdom with the ball but also starred for the team with the bat scoring an impressive century. With his plethora of experience, Ashwin can be a great asset for the side.

Bowlers- Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj

Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Along with Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin, Axar Patel strengthens the team’s spin attack. The Kanpur pitch is expected to assist the spinners and it will be a great opportunity for Patel to yet again blow the trumpet of his repertoire. In the home Test series against England earlier this year, Axar Patel fetched in some splendid spells and will hope to do the same this time around.

Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj are expected to take the fast-bowling mantle for the team. With his experience, Sharma can prove lethal for the opposition. Whereas Siraj too will be all keen to bring his best game to the fore. He had a fabulous outing in Australia last year and in England earlier this year.