Thursday, January 20, 2022

IND vs NZ Mumbai Test: Shreyas Iyer should definitely play, there is need for some shuffling – Zaheer Khan

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IND vs NZ Mumbai Test: Ahead of the series-decider at the Wankhede Stadium from Friday, former India pacer Zaheer Khan has opined that Shreyas Iyer, who scored a hundred in his debut match in Kanpur last week, should get a place in the playing XI.

IND vs NZ Mumbai Test: Shreyas Iyer should definitely play, there is need for some shuffling – Zaheer Khan

Notably, Virat Kohli is set to return to lead in the Mumbai encounter and that means someone will have to make way for the India captain. Ajinkya Rahane’s place in the side has been a debatable one for a long time now and his twin failures in the first Test has added to his woes.

However, considering the backing Rahane has got from Virat Kohli in the past, him getting dropped from the eleven is highly unlikely. Cheteshwar Pujara is another player who has felt the heat. The dependable right-hander last scored a century in the format in January 2019 but Rahul Dravid trust the Saurashtra star limitlessly.

“The middle-order headache for this Test has come after Iyer’s fantastic debut performance. Iyer made good use of his opportunity. Virat Kohli is sure to come in, so there needs to be space made in the middle-order.

Also Read: IND vs NZ: Out of form, Virat Kohli, Rahane and Pujara hit indoor nets under Rahul Dravid’s guidance as rain spoils practice – Check pics

“I think there is a bit more pressure on Pujara and that is not entirely performance-based. Have seen in previous instances that often an opener gets dropped.

“They might go in a direction and ask whether Pujara can open in these conditions, but there is no denying that there needs to be some shuffling,” Zaheer told Cricbuzz before adding that Iyer must play the second Test this week.

“Iyer should definitely play, there is absolutely no question about it. They either have to drop an opener or drop either one of Pujara or Rahane.”

Mayank Agarwal has played two Test matches so far in 2021 and dropping him could be unfair. In the absence of Rohit Sharma and injured KL Rahul, the Karnataka batsman opened with Shubman Gill and registered scores of 13 and 17.

Zaheer added that India might not look to make any changes in the bowling department but if they do, then left-arm spinner Axar Patel might have to make way for Mohammed Siraj.

“I don’t think determining the bowling attack would be a difficult decision. Siraj has been a mainstay now with good consistent performances.

“If India decides to play 3 seamers then Axar Patel will be the bowler who will have to make way. But pitches in India always have some turn, on offer after Day 3, so don’t think there will be too many changes in the bowling combination,” Zaheer said.

What did Virat Kohli say about the India playing XI for New Zealand Test? 

In the press conference ahead of the Mumbai Test, Virat Kohli played down questions regarding the team combination for the high-voltage encounter. Notably, due to incessant rain the two teams have failed to practice and get an idea on the expected conditions. Earlier it was being reported that a green turf aiding the pacers might be on offer, however, pictures of the pitch on Thursday showed a grassless deck.

“Communication is important so it’s better to communicate to the individuals directly. It is always based on the combinations at a certain match. We understand there will always be ups and downs. A decision is taken after a collective set of ideas,” Kohli said.

“Saha is fit to play. He has recovered from the neck spasm. As for the combination, we have to discuss the conditions and take a call accordingly. We have to pick bowlers who can adapt to all situations as the weather may change in the next five days,” he added.

After the nail-biting draw in Kanpur, India will look to win the Mumbai Test comprehensively and clinch another series win in the longest format at home. India, currently the second ranked Test team in the world, have not lost a Test series at home since December 2012.

IND vs NZ Mumbai Test: Shreyas Iyer should definitely play, there is need for some shuffling – Zaheer Khan

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