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Should India drop Shaw for 2nd Test?

By HARISH KOTIAN
February 27, 2020 08:59 IST
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IMAGE: Kyle Jamieson celebrates Virat Kohli's wicket in the first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, February 21, 2020. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
 

After getting hammered in the opening Test against New Zealand by 10 wickets, India have a lot of areas to work on, ahead of the second and final game, which begins on Saturday, February 29.

India's batting was a big disappointment in the series opener as the visitors failed to get past the 200 run mark in both innings in Wellington.

Opener Mayank Agarwal (58) was the only India batsman to score a half-century in the first Test while Captain Virat Kohli's failures in both innings hurt the team badly.

India's problem starts from the top and Prithvi Shaw's technique against the new ball being exposed by the Kiwi fast bowlers is a cause for concern.

Kohli seems unperturbed and defended the young Shaw. 'I don't think at this stage we need to sit down and discuss what's going wrong because I don't see anything wrong,' the skipper said. 'It's the execution of things which was not there.'

With a talent like Shubman Gill waiting in the wings, India could yet think of making a change at the top, but at the moment the team management seem content with giving Shaw another opportunity.

Cheteshwar Pujara will also need to work on his stroke rotation and not just look to stonewall the New Zealand bowlers at one end.

Pujara made 11 in both innings off 123 deliveries spent at the crease, but his failure to carry on after getting off to starts hampered India's chances of keeping the Kiwis bowlers at bay and posting a big total.

Hanuma Vihari also failed to convince at No 6 and will need a good outing in the second match to justify his inclusion.

If the pitch in Christchurch turns out to be in favour of the fast bowlers, then India could bring in an extra pacer, which could mean Vihari may bowl a lot of part-time off-spin.

But it is difficult to see them leave out seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who did a fairly good job in the first Test, picking up 3/99 in 29 overs.

It seems that fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who made a comeback to cricket after an injury, has not got his rhythm back as he struggled for consistency -- picking up just one wicket in 27 overs bowled in the match.

Mohammed Shami also managed just one wicket in 23 overs, but veteran Ishant Sharma did well to recover from his recent injury setback to claim 5/68.

Rishabh Pant was preferred ahead of Wriddhiman Saha and was unlucky to be run out for 19 in the first innings followed by 25 in the second when he perished in search for quick runs at the end.

World No 1 India, who suffered their first defeat in the ICC World Test Championship, would be keen to bounce back and assert their supremacy in the second Test.

What changes do you think India should make to get back to their winning ways?

Should Gill replace Shaw?

Should Umesh Yadav come in for Ashwin?

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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
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