Kanpur: India captain Ajinkya Rahane confirmed that middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer will debut in the first Test against New Zealand starting on Thursday. Opener KL Rahul was ruled out of the series owing to a muscle strain on the left thigh.
Iyer has 4,592 runs under his belt in 54 In first-class matches at an average of 52.18. He has 12 centuries and 23 half-centuries to his name.
“Shreyas is going to make his debut. Unfortunately, KL is injured and will not be a part of the Test matches. So, Shreyas will make his debut tomorrow,” said Rahane was quoted as saying at the pre-match press conference by news agency IANS here on Wednesday.
Rahane, however, refused to throw much light on the likely playing eleven. “We are not too sure about the combination. But in India you generally get spin-friendly wickets, the ball generally keeps slightly low and slow. We expect that but not too sure how the wicket will play. We will have to wait till tomorrow and then assess from there,” he said.
“See, it is a big blow when we got to know that KL (Rahul) is injured and is not available for these two Test matches. He did really well in England. He was in good form and played really well in T20s. Obviously, we will miss him but we have guys who can fill that slot, guys who did well for us in the past with that experience. Not too worried about the opening slot.
“We will miss all these three guys (Kohli, Sharma and Pant). But it is a good opportunity for all the youngsters to play. Whoever is getting an opportunity to bat, they will look to back themselves and play with freedom. Rahul bhai (Dravid, head coach) is backing each and every individual. This team is all about backing everyone and one another,” the stand-in skipper said.