Shaw back in Tests, Agarwal up for ODIs as Kiwis lose Williamson

Mayank Agarwal replaced injured Rohit Sharma in the ODI squad for the series

India vs New Zealand, India tour of New Zealand, Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal
India's Prithvi Shaw and Kedar Jadhav during practice session in Hamilton. Photo: @BCCI/Twitter

Indian Test squad will witness the comeback of opener Prithvi Shaw for the two-match series against New Zealand while Mayank Agarwal replaced injured Rohit Sharma in the ODI squad for the series beginning in Hamilton on Wednesday (February 4).

Shaw, who has already been in New Zealand for more than two weeks with the A-side, will replace Rohit who was ruled out of the series due to a left calf muscle strain. The two-Test series begins in Wellington on February 21.

Mayank will also be in line to open alongside Shaw for the Test games, provided KL Rahul continues to bat in the middle-order.

“Vice-captain Rohit Sharma sustained a left calf muscle strain during the fifth T20I against New Zealand at Tauranga on Sunday. He underwent an MRI scan in Hamilton on Monday. The opening batsman has been ruled out of the upcoming ODI and the Test series and will be referred to the National Cricket Academy for further management of his injury,” said the BCCI in a statement.

Also read: Rohit out of New Zealand tour, Agarwal likely for ODIs; Rahul, Gill for Tests

Shaw, who last played for India in October 2018 while recording a century on Test debut against the West Indies, had last month received a maiden ODI call-up for the New Zealand series.

After serving an eight-month doping ban last year, Shaw showed no signs of rustiness and was instantaneously amongst the runs in domestic cricket with the double hundred against Baroda being the highlight.

Shaw, who smashed a 150 against New Zealand XI in his first innings on the tour, will also be joined by his India U-19 teammate Shubman Gill who has expectedly retained his place in the Test squad following a match-saving double hundred for India A against New Zealand on Sunday.

Both Shaw and Gill are openers but the former is expected to open alongside Agarwal in the first Test at Basin Reserve. Gill, who smashed the double ton batting at number four, can also make the eleven as a middle-order batsman.

Also read: Prithvi Shaw to replace Dhawan in NZ ODI series, Sanju Samson gets T20 call

Gill, who has played two ODIs, was part of the Test squad in the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh but did not get a game.

Kuldeep Yadav, who did not make the eleven in the five T20s against New Zealand, has been dropped from the Test squad with the selectors going for two specialist spinner options in Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.

The Chinaman played his last Test during the tour of Australia in January last year and during the home season, Ashwin and Jadeja were the preferred choice.

Pacer Navdeep Saini too has made his way into the Test side following impressive performances in limited-overs cricket. Saini had received his maiden Test call-up for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in 2018 but is yet to make his debut. However, he has gone on to play three ODIs and 10 T20s for India.

Also read: Injury-hit Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma ruled out of New Zealand tour

Senior pacer Ishant Sharma, who had twisted his ankle during a Ranji Trophy game last month, has kept his place in the side but his participation in the series is subject to fitness.

India’s Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ishant Sharma (subject to fitness clearance).

Meanwhile, in a blow to the hosts, skipper Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the first two ODIs owing to a left shoulder injury he sustained during the third T20I here at Seddon Park.

Also read: Injury-hit New Zealand brings new pace attack in ODIs against India

He hadn’t featured in the last two T20Is in Wellington and Mt. Maunganui afterwards. There is no official confirmation if Williamson will be available for the last ODI either, albeit he will start batting again later this week and is expected to fully recover ahead of the two-Test series beginning February 21.

Left-handed batsman Mark Chapman has been called up to the ODI squad. Tom Latham will lead the side in Williamson’s absence with the series starting here on Wednesday.

Tim Southee had led New Zealand in the last two T20Is.

(With inputs from agencies)

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