12 Feb 2020
Things India need to sort before the NZ Test series
India overcame New Zealand in the T20I, beating them by a 5-0 margin.
The Kiwis inflicted a whitewash upon India next in the ODIs, winning the series 3-0.
The two sides now shift their focus on the two-match Test series, starting February 21.
Ahead of the Tests, India need to make some major decisions.
We look at the same.
Who will open with Mayank Agarwal?
Mayank Agarwal is set to be India's principle Test opener in the series.
However, the absence of Rohit Sharma opens up a spot.
Given that Gill was a part of the Test squads against South Africa and Bangladesh, he deserves the nod.
He was impressive recently against New Zealand A and should pip Shaw.
Should India go with a 7-4 or 6-5 strategy?
Another major decision needed to be taken by skipper Virat Kohli is the strategy he should go ahead with.
With the absence of Hardik Pandya, India are likely to go in with three pacers and a spinner.
Therefore, we might see a 7-4 strategy to help India get more cushion in batting.
But will Kohli take a risk and include an extra pacer?
Should India prevail with Saha or choose Pant?
Rishabh Pant has lost his place in the side across formats.
With the youngster being dropped to the bench in the limited-overs series against New Zealand, he is unlikely to get the nod in the Test XI.
Wriddhiman Saha was the main choice against SA and Bangladesh.
He is likely to keep his place in the side.
However, his batting overseas is a worry.
If Ishant misses out, then who should replace him?
The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are set to be the main options in the pace-bowling unit.
However, if Ishant Sharma fails a fitness test ahead of the series, then India will need to choose from the likes of Navdeep Saini or Umesh Yadav.
The fitness test is set to take place on February 15.
Saini's pace and bounce could work.
Can Bumrah bounce back in the Test series?
Jasprit Bumrah's form will be a spot of bother for India.
He was below-par in the ODIs against the Kiwis and went wicketless in the series.
Bumrah also conceded runs and wasn't as effective both with the new ball and at the death.
However, he will want to bounce back strongly.
He has a superb Test record so far and regaining confidence is key.
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