India vs New Zealand: Opening pair, spin combination in focus as visitors prepare for warm-up game

After the harsh reality check of 0-3 drubbing in the just-concluded ODI series, a red-ball warm-up game will be the most welcome distraction for Virat Kohli and his men as a precursor to the two-match Test series starting next week.

Press Trust of India, Feb 13, 2020 11:12:21 IST

Hamilton: Clarity on the opening combination and a call on whether Ravichandran Ashwin's variations can trump Ravindra Jadeja's all-round skill-sets will be the focus for India in their three-day warm-up game against New Zealand XI starting here on Friday.

India vs New Zealand: Opening pair, spin combination in focus as visitors prepare for warm-up game

Shubman Gill will hope to impress in the warm-up game to bolster his chances of a Test debut. Twitter @RealShubmanGill

After the harsh reality check of 0-3 drubbing in the just-concluded ODI series, a red-ball warm-up game will be the most welcome distraction for Virat Kohli and his men as a precursor to the two-match Test series starting next week.

India could not have asked for a better practice game as the opposition team is full of New Zealand senior and 'A' team players, including leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and wicketkeeper Tim Seifert, in their ranks.

The inclusion of white-ball pacers Scott Kuggeliejn and Blair Tickner will be the kind of test which both Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill will relish as they make a case for their inclusion in the playing XI for the first Test starting in Wellington on 21 February.

Shubman will be itching to show his skipper that he is ready for the big debut which is eagerly anticipated among his growing legion of fans, despite his international career being two-match old.

A flat track like the one at Seddon Park will also be a test for the two frontline spinners with Ashwin and Jadeja getting a chance to test the likes of Daryl Mitchell, Tom Bruce, and Seifert in action.

A good show on a flat deck can improve Ashwin's chances of toppling Jadeja even though the proposition looks dim at the moment.

For the New Zealand XI, there is Dane Cleaver, who has had scores of 196 and 53 in the two A 'Tests' against India. He would like to impress the selectors and get into the team for the Test series.

India's red-ball overseas warm-up games in the past few years have mostly been two-day affairs with the home team batting on one day and visitors on the other day.

Devoid of the first-class status, the matches have been about giving everyone in the squad a chance to have a decent hit between 50 to 100 balls and bowlers getting into the groove with a spell or two.

The hosting Boards also often put up a rag-tag outfit which is a strategic move to deny visiting teams a chance to check out against quality batting or bowling line-up.

However, this warm-up game promises to be different as India are looking to get their combination right for the Test series which is also a part of World Test Championship.

Teams (from):

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Navdeep Saini, Shubman Gill.

NZ XI: Daryl Mitchell (captain), Finn Allen, Tom Bruce, Dane Cleaver, Henry Cooper, Scott Kuggeleijn, James Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Will Young. 13th men: Jake Gibson (Friday) and Scott Johnston (Saturday and Sunday).

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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2020 11:12:21 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 England 5253 105
4 New Zealand 3449 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
6 Sri Lanka 4191 91
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7748 121
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 South Africa 5193 110
5 Australia 5854 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 6095 265
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 5248 262
6 New Zealand 7114 245