India vs New Zealand: ‘Should get his chance’ - Harbhajan Singh names Mayank Agarwal’s opening partner in Test series
India spinner Harbhajan Singh believes youngster Shubman Gill should get a chance to open the innings along side Mayank Agarwal in the upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand. After winning the T20I series 5-0, Virat Kohli and his troops were blanked 0-3 in the ODI series and the action now moves to the longest format.
India will be without the services of senior opener Rohit Sharma, who has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury while in-form KL Rahul has been overlooked from the 15-member squad. This means either Shubman Gill or Prithvi Shaw will partner Mayank at the top of the innings. Harbhajan feels Shubman should be given a chance to make his Test debut considering he was picked as the reserve opener in the initial squad.
Shubman is also going through a rich vein of form as he recently scored 83 and 204 for India A, while playing in the middle order, in the first unofficial Test against New Zealand A. He them slammed a century while opening the innings in the next match.
“Shubman should get his chance since he has been part of the team (as reserve opener) for quite a while without playing any Test match,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by PTI.
Harbhajan also picked Mayank Agarwal to keep his spot as opener despite going through a tough time. He was dismissed for ducks in both innings in the unofficial Test, followed by three low-scores in the ODI series against New Zealand.
“Mayank is a proven player in Test cricket and a top batsman. He understands his game very well. Just because of three ODI innings and a practice game, you don’t drop him. It doesn’t work like that. He has been scoring lots of runs wherever he is playing, so I feel Mayank and Shubman should start in first Test,” Harbhajan said.
India will take on New Zealand XI in a three-day practice match before the first Test in Wellington starting February 21. The second Test is scheduled to be played in Christchurch starting February 29.