Date: November 17, 2021
Time: 7:00 PM IST
Venue: Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
India will look to start afresh after their disappointment in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 as they welcome New Zealand for a three-match T20I series followed by a couple of Tests. The first of the three T20Is will be played in Jaipur at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium and will mark a series of historical debuts.
It will be the first match with Rohit Sharma as the full-time leader of the team in T20Is. It will also be the first time with Rahul Dravid as the head coach, in addition to it being the first T20I at this venue. With so many firsts for India, the team would hope they can start off their chapter with a win against New Zealand who reached the final of the World Cup only to taste defeat against Australia.
First game of the series as well as the first T20I at this venue but the central zone pitch curator Taposh Chatterjee has hinted this could be a high-scoring wicket. "We have protected the pitch from overuse and underuse to ensure the juice remains and the pitch is not slow," he was quoted as saying in a TOI report. "It has been tested during Colvin Shield, Under-19 matches, practice matches for the senior state team and senior women challenger trophy," he added. However, there are longer boundaries here when compared to some of the other venues which bring the bowlers also into the game.
India: Team India have rested a few of their regular players while they have dropped a few others. Yet they have stuck with some of the senior players with Rohit Sharma named the skipper of the side. The batting order would be interesting to see in the absence of Virat Kohli and all eyes will also be on who could be the alternative for Hardik Pandya who has struggled with form and fitness concerns lately. A number of new bowling options could be tried and while it might look like an experiment, Rohit & Co would want to look at it as part of the larger preparation for the next T20 World Cup in less than a year.
Update: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will not play the three T20Is to focus on the Test matches. Tim Southee will lead in his absence. Kyle Jamieson has also opted out of the T20I series to focus on the two Tests. Meanwhile, Lockie Ferguson is likely to make a comeback in the team.
The Kiwis are coming with a full-strength squad. They reached the finals of the T20 World Cup and outplayed India in their Super 12 match against them. In that case, they would believe that they can do well against the Men in Blue on Indian soil as they have got more or less all bases covered and tend to perform well as a unit. But make no mistake India will also play a lot more freely as there is little pressure compared to the World Cup fixture against the same opposition which had become a do-or-die one for India.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammad Siraj
New Zealand: Tim Southee (c), Daryl Mitchell, Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Todd Astle, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Conclusion: Expecting India to carry on the same way they played in the last three matches of their T20 World Cup campaign. While it may not have been enough to see them through to the semifinals, it could well lay the template for their next campaign in this kind of a tournament. Having said that New Zealand are a quality side and are coming with a full-strength side so it would be an interesting battle. Still backing India to start the home season on a winning note.
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