Team India will resume their World Test Championship campaign with a home series against New Zealand. The hosts would be hoping to carry on from the resounding T20I series win against the Blackcaps, with the first Test in Kanpur.
The runner-ups from the first edition of the World Test Championship are on the lookout for redemption in the longest format from the Blackcaps. With Virat Kohli absent, Ajinkya Rahane will lead the team in Green Park.
Suryakumar Yadav was a late addition to the squad as a replacement for the injured KL Rahul. But, it will be Shreyas Iyer who will make his debut in whites for the team in the middle order.
Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill pose as the lone opening pair and will open the innings for the team. Despite poor form as of late, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will be the backbone in the middle-order. The wicket-keeping gloves will be donned by Wriddhiman Saha in the absence of Rishabh Pant.
India will likely stick with their three-spinner approach in home Tests which means an outing for the finger-spin trio of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel.
Mohammad Siraj’s status following a finger injury is yet to be known. Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma are the senior pacers in the squad with Prasidh Krishna as a potential backup.
The Blackcaps boast a bunch of fresh faces for the Test series with only a handful of players being part of the T20 World Cup squad in the UAE. The return of skipper Kane Williamson marks a huge boost while the absence of lead seamer Trent Boult will surely be felt.
New Zealand understands how spin is an integral part in these conditions. The team have put together a potent spin attack of Ajaz Patel, Mitchell Santner, and William Somerville, that have performed reasonably well in subcontinent conditions.
The team also consists of able batsmen who can play spin well in the form of Williamson himself as well as Tom Latham and Ross Taylor.
Waging Odds: India (1.61) vs New Zealand (4.75) Draw(4.33)
India are the favorites and are priced at 1.61 meaning if you bet ₹100 on them and if they win the match, you’ll be making ₹161.
New Zealand are the underdogs and priced at 4.75 meaning if you bet ₹100 on them and if they win the match, you’ll be making ₹475.
The odds for a draw are placed at 4.33. Betting ₹100 on it will earn you ₹433 if the match is drawn.
Defeating India in their own conditions is one of the toughest tasks in world cricket. Despite a plethora of first-team members being absent from the squad, India’s formidable bench strength allows them to put out a competitive playing XI. New Zealand will have to play at their best and counter spin with both bat and ball to pose a challenge. The surface is expected to be competitive and will offer turn, but should aid batting pretty well.
Prediction: India to win the match