Virat Kohli not playing: India will be taking the field without many first-choice players in the first Test against New Zealand.
During the first day of the first Test of the ongoing New Zealand’s tour of India in Kanpur, India captain Ajinkya Rahane has won the toss and chose to bat.
“Looking to bat first. Pitch looks really good. Generally slows down later on here. It’s an opportunity for all of us here to do well here and in Mumbai,” Rahane told Star Sports at the toss.
Much like Rahane, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson also wanted to bat first at the Green Park today. “We would have batted first as well. But we got the ball in hand first, so it’s important we get some early wickets. Looking forward to this challenge,” Williamson told Star Sports at the toss.
Why is Virat Kohli not playing vs New Zealand?
A primary reason why Rahane is leading the team in this match is the absence of regular Test captain Virat Kohli. Apart from Kohli, players such as Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are also not playing this match.
Readers must note that all these players have been rested for this match to manage their workloads. Having played in the ICC World Test Championship final, Test series against England, Indian Premier League 2021 Phase 2 and ICC T20 World Cup in a row, these players had been on the road since June this year and deserve this break ahead of India’s tour of South Africa 2021-22.
While Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal will open the batting for India in Sharma and Rahul’s absence today, batter Shreyas Iyer was handed a Test debut on the eve of the match. While Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel are three spin-bowling option for India, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav are likely to share the new ball.
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) November 25, 2021
“Few of the senior guys are missing. So, it’s an opportunity for the youngsters. Shreyas [Iyer] is making his debut. We are all excited to play under the new coaching staff. I personally enjoy playing under Rahul bhai [head coach],” Rahane added.