Rahane confirms Shreyas Iyer’s Test Debut in First Test : IND v NZ

Shreyas Iyer is ready to be India’s 303rd men’s Test cricketer. Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane confirmed a day before the Kanpur Test against New Zealand that Iyer will be playing the Kanpur Test after KL Rahul was ruled out due to a muscle strain. Rahane said India haven’t yet decided if Iyer would be the only debutant or whether they will an extra batter, given that regular Test players Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant are unavailable.

It is a big blow to the team – Rahane on Rahul’s injury

“It is a big blow obviously,” Rahane said of the Rahul injury. “He did really well in England, he was in good form, obviously we will miss him. But we have guys who can do that job, guys who have done well for us in the past. So not too worried about the opening slot.”

Even though Rahane didn’t give any info about the spin combination, a trio of specialist spinners are expected to play. All the Test Playing nations are trying to maximize the home advantage since the World Test Championship points are at stake with each match.

“We are not too sure of the combination,” Rahane said. “But in India you generally get spin-friendly wickets, the ball generally keeps slightly low and slow. We expect that but not too sure how the wicket will play. We will have to wait till tomorrow and assess from there.

“Right now we are into the ICC Test championship. You have to make the most of the home advantage. In India we all know we are backing our bowlers to take 20 wickets. We are going to play on spin-friendly wickets. Batsmen will have to apply themselves. If they get set, they will have to convert it. That is the challenge as a batsman. You have to adapt to the situations and conditions. And then once you are set, try and get a big one. Yeah in future we are going to play on wickets that are spin-friendly.”

Rahane on his poor form with the bat recently

One of the big questions Rahane would have to face was obviously about his batting form. Rahane has average below 25 in last 15 tests. In the England tour, he made just a single half-century at Lord’s. It must be noted though that it came in a winning cause. Seniors like Gautam Gambhir have criticized Rahane openly. Even taking a dig at him saying that he is fortunate to secure a spot in this series. Rahane answered, saying, 

“No concern. My job is to contribute for the team. And contribution doesn’t mean you score a hundred every game; 30-40-70 at a crucial moment is also an important contribution. I always think about the team. I have never thought where I am going. It is an honour for me to lead the team. What happens in the future is not of concern to me. I am focusing only on how I can give my best at a given particular moment.”


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