CHENNAI: The Indian team is contemplating whether to recall wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant for the first Test against New Zealand starting in Wellington on Friday. A decision is expected on Thursday as India are prepared to wait and see how the pitch shapes up, which at present resembles a green carpet, according to information received from New Zealand.
Though the team management expects some of the grass to be shaved, they believe it will have significant assistance for the seamers. Virat Kohli & Co are planning to field a four-bowler attack. It is understood that Ishant Sharma, who recovered from an ankle injury and joined the team in New Zealand, will start with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. With wind being a factor in Wellington, India are looking to play Ravichandran Ashwin, as he can use conditions better to get drift.
Coming back to Pant, India believe he can offer more on these sort of pitches. Plus, his aggressive game gives him an edge over Wriddhiman Saha. But dropping the latter won’t be an easy decision as after replacing Pant in the XI, Saha has done well in five Tests. Pant’s last Test was against West Indies in August and he didn’t play any of the international games on this tour. In the practice match last week, he batted above Saha in both innings and scored 7 & 70. As revealed by Kohli, India will open with Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw with Hanuma Vihari at No 6 to strengthen the batting.