New Zealand’s tour of India kicks-off with the first Test at Green Park stadium in Kanpur. Both the teams will be looking to field their best eleven for the opening Test. An early lead will be helpful in this three-match Test series, and both India and New Zealand will be aware of that. The pitch at Green Park is expected to assist spinners, which happens to be team India’s forte. Kiwis will be wary of the threat Indian spinners posses.
So with India, all set to hunt Kiwi batsmen with spin, the trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra is all set to feature in the playing XI. Mohammad Shami who returned to Test cricket against West Indies looked promising and will lead the Indian attack. Ishant Sharma would have been his new ball partner, but the fast bowler is down with chikungunya and thus won’t be available for the first Test. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is all set to take his place.
Coming to the batting department, India will have to decide between three openers. Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul are the three openers available. In the past, India has often opted for Vijay-Dhawan pair, but with Rahul’s good form and superb recent performances; he is all set to take the opening slot. Dhawan might have to warm the bench as Vijay has been a regular performer. So Vijay is likely to find a place in the playing XI over Dhawan. Also Check- India vs New Zealand 2016 Schedule
Cheteshwar Pujara has stamped his authority on the number three position with his performance in the recently concluded Duleep Trophy. However, to hang onto to this vital position Pujara has to be at his best. Also Catch- India vs New Zealand 1st Test 2016 Live Score
No surprises, Captain Virat Kohli will occupy the number four position followed by Ajinkya Rahane. Wriddhiman Saha is the lone wicketkeeper in the squad and is an automatic selection. By the looks of it, Rohit Sharma will have to warm the bench along with Dhawan, Umesh Yadav and ill Ishant.
On the other hand, visitors will be looking to counter the Indian spin attack with resources available. Opener Tom Latham, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor happen to be their main three batsmen. Martin Guptill who has struggled in game’s longest format is likely to get an extended run and will open the innings with Latham. Williamson and Taylor hold the important number three and four positions respectively. Luke Ronchi, who slammed a century in the warm-up match against Mumbai, has given a selection headache to captain and coach. Ronchi could well find a place in the playing XI as a specialist batsman ahead of Henry Nicholls.
BJ Watling has been a consistent performer for Kiwis, and he is all set to keep wickets. All-rounder Jimmy Neesham who made a return to New Zealand Test squad is currently nursing a rib injury and thus won’t make it for the opening Test.
In the bowling department, New Zealand will bank on the pace trio of Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner. Indian’s are good players of spin, but Kiwis will hope that spin of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi will make it tough for the hosts.
Likely playing XIs-
India: Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami. New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi, BJ Watling, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner.
Here is a look at full squads-
India: Virat Kohli(c), Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson(c), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.