Opener Prithvi Shaw has been named in India’s Test squad to face New Zealand. He has replaced Rohit Sharma, who has been ruled out of the entire tour with a calf injury.
The prolific batsman, leading in absence of rested Virat Kohli in the final T20I, pulled his calf muscle while scampering through a single. The injury came as a massive blow to his Test career, which started to take off since he slammed two hundreds and a double ton against South Africa at home last year. Mayank Agarwal has been named Sharma's replacement for the three-match ODI series starting February 5.
On the other hand, Shaw had an excellent start to his Test career when he slammed a hundred on his debut against West Indies in 2018. He was subsequently picked for the Australia tour but twisted his ankle in a practice match against Cricket Australia XI which ruled him out of the Australia tour completely.
Last year, he was handed an eight-month suspension for a doping violation. Now, he has impressed on India’s A tour of New Zealand as well as notching up his highest-ever first-class score of 202 against Baroda in a Ranji game, setting up a massive win for his side Mumbai.
With Mayank Agarwal certain to grab one of the opening slots, there will be a few heads rolling whether to include Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill in the other slot. The decision might get tricky as he smashed scores of 83 and 204* against New Zealand A at Christchurch.
Surprisingly, Kuldeep Yadav has been left out of the squad despite being Ravi Shastri’s first-choice spinner for overseas conditions. Navdeep Saini has been included in the squad, making a total of five fast bowlers in the squad. Ishant Sharma has been given a green signal after he suffered a grade three tear to his left ankle in a Ranji game last month.
However, the decision on his inclusion would be made subject to match fitness. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru.
Jasprit Bumrah’s return to Test squad will give the visitors a massive boost. He had to miss the home Tests against South Africa and Bangladesh with a stress fracture. He made a return to the international fold in a three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka and made a significant impact in India’s whitewash of New Zealand in T20Is.
India will face New Zealand in a three-match ODI series before heading to the Test series, which starts from February 21 at Wellington.
Virat Kohli (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ishant Sharma (subject to fitness clearance).