'Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal may be inexperienced but they have class' - Tim Southee ahead of first Test

‘Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal may be inexperienced but they have class’ – Tim Southee ahead of first Test

Southee though also added that one needs to respect India as a top Test-playing nation in the world.

Tim Southee
Tim Southee. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

India and New Zealand have so far seen an ‘all or nothing’ series between them in the limited overs. After the visitors won the T20I series 5-0, the hosts came back hard to clinch the ODI series 3-0. The focus is now on the two-Test series kicking off in Wellington on Saturday and both sides are eager to draw the first blood. The series will also be a part of the ICC World Test Championship in which India are leading the table with 360 points while the Kiwis are at No.6 with only 60 points.

India’s challenge in this series will be a comparatively young opening pair. All the three openers that India have in their squads — Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill — are players who have played only 11 Tests between them.

Shaw and Agarwal are confirmed to be the openers in the first Test after their good show in the second innings of the three-day game against New Zealand XI in Hamilton recently but they have not opened together in Tests ever. There will be no experienced opener in either KL Rahul (not included in Test squad) or Rohit Sharma (out of the series with injury) and it is to be seen whether this plays in favour of India or not.

New Zealand opening seamer Tim Southee, however, believes that while India could still be missing their regular Test opener in Rohit, yet Shaw and Agarwal could make a difference despite their inexperience.

“They are missing a couple of guys due to the injury but there are plenty of guys who are talented and capable of stepping up when required. They had a good outing in Hamilton. Although they may be inexperienced at the same time, they are class players,” said Southee as quoted by Yahoo Sports.

Wellington’s cross breeze will test Indian batters, says Tim Southee

The 31-year-old pacer, who has 270 wickets from 71 Tests, said cross-blow of breeze across the ground at Basin Reserve will test the tourists and it will be key to see how quickly they adapt to the conditions.

“Obviously, these are home conditions and it favours us. But there are a number of things that you need to do well in here at the Basin Reserve and India will have to get used to it in the next three days,” he said as a subtle warning to Virat Kohli’s side.

Southee though also added that one needs to respect India as a top Test-playing nation in the world. India are currently ranked No.1 in the long format while New Zealand are at No.4.

“It’s a completely different format. India has played great Test cricket for a long period of time so it should be an evenly contested Test series,” Southee, who makes up a formidable opening bowling partnership with Trent Boult, said.

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