Shreyas Iyer to make his Test Debut

Shreyas Iyer is all set 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 debuting after KL Rahul was ruled out with a muscle strain in the thigh.

Shreyas Iyer to make his Test Debut

Rahane said India hadn't yet decided a day out if Iyer would be the only debutant or if they might play an extra batter given India are without Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant.

Shreyas Iyer to make his Test Debut

Iyer averages 52.18 in first-class cricket, and scores them at an astonishing pace of 81.54 per 100 balls.

Shreyas Iyer to make his Test Debut

Against New Zealand A's attack comprising Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson and Ish Sodhi, Iyer scored 108 and 82, both at better than a run a ball, in the two unofficial Tests in Vijayawada in 2017.

Shreyas Iyer to make his Test Debut

Iyer is set to slot into the middle order, leaving, in all likelihood, Shubman Gill to open with Mayank Agarwal. India did want to try Gill in the middle order in the one Test that usual captain Virat Kohli was missing, but now they have no other choice.

Shreyas Iyer to make his Test Debut

Rahane said India would miss all the big names, but that the youngsters stepping in were good enough to compete at Test level.

Shreyas Iyer to make his Test Debut

"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."

Shreyas Iyer to make his Test Debut

Big names missing and the expected challenging conditions put the onus on the two senior batters, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane. The latter has averaged 25 over the last 15 Tests. Rahane said he was not too concerned about his numbers.