R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja: Whom will Kohli pick?(HT Collage)
R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja: Whom will Kohli pick?(HT Collage)

India vs New Zealand: Pant vs Saha, Ashwin vs Jadeja - Whom does the stats favour for 1st Test in Wellington

IND vs NZ: The average first innings total at the Basin Reserve in Wellington is 298 and batting second is considerably easy. This will put a lot of focus on the toss in the 1st India vs New Zealand Test match.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 20, 2020 04:41 PM IST

Ahead of the first Test match against New Zealand, Team India captain Virat Kohli all but confirmed Prithvi Shaw as Mayank Agarwal’s opening partner. The captain backed the young batsman and asked him to trust his instincts and react accordingly. This will be a test for India’s batsmen as Wellington is one of the few venues in the world where the captain winning the toss, bowls first. The average first innings total at the Basin Reserve is 298 and batting second is considerably easy. This will put a lot of focus on the toss and since, both the sides boast of a powerful and well-rounded bowling attack, the task will be cut out for the opening batsmen in the India vs New Zealand Test match.

The other selection call which India need to make is between the wicket-keeper. While the management backed Wriddhiman Saha as the primary wicket-keeper in the home Test matches owing to his superior skills behind the stumps, Rishabh Pant’s batting record in Australia and England are far better. The southpaw slammed a century each in England and Australia, but has lost his place in the squad. Saha, on the other hand, averages just 14.87 in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries with the bat. Hence, who will Kohli pick - a better batsman or a better wicket-keeper remains to be seen.

ALSO READ: ‘No one likes to sit outside’: Ajinkya Rahane opens up on Rishabh Pant ahead of 1st Test against New Zealand

The other conundrum facing the management is the option of a spinner. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will fight for the spot of a lone spinner in the side.

Here is how they have fared in SENA countries:

In 16 matches, Ashwin has picked up 48 wickets at an average of 43.37. Jadeja, on the other hand, has picked up 32 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 40.28. This also includes a 5-wicket haul.

What could tip the scales in Jadeja’s favour is that he has become a more reliable batsman and is an absolute gun in the field.

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India's batsman Rishabh Pant plays a shot on day five of the fourth cricket Test match between Australia and India at The Gabba in Brisbane. (AFP)
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