Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli with Shubman Gill and Rahul Dravid

Second Test between India and New Zealand: Captain Virat Kohli returns to the team as India tries to clinch the two-match series at the Wankhede Stadium.

The second and final Test between New Zealand and India takes place at the rain-soaked “Maximum City” on Friday, and Virat Kohli’s return after a well-earned rest couldn’t have come at a more unenviable time. New Zealand’s draw with India on a slow turner in the first Test was an anticlimax, and the home team under its normal skipper would most likely reshuffle the team after that.

Aside from severe rains on day one, the Wankhede hosts may only have four days for a favorable result because of the underlying wetness, which will also bring an extra Black Caps pacer, Neil Wagner, into the mix.

Kohli and new coach Rahul Dravid confront a conundrum since Indian cricket teams have never believed in a shake-up of the status quo. No runs are being scored by two of the team members.

But even though he scored 105 and 65 when under pressure in Kanpur, Shreyas Iyer’s position in the Indian team is not yet guaranteed.

Against a stalemated assault in the fifth Test, the squad wasn’t under any strain, and Karun Nair had just scored a triple tonne.

There is a lot of attention on Ajinkya Rahane right now because of India’s 12 straight losses in 2021, but the skipper from the last match is unlikely to be benched due to his poor form in the upcoming one.

Moreover, he was doing it on his own turf.

But the more chances he gets, the stronger the criticism that he isn’t sending a strong enough message.

Cheteshwar Pujara is also a cause for concern, as he has repeatedly forgotten that cricket is more than just a game of survival. He’s been in a tight place in every Test, whether at home or abroad, whether the bowlers are formidable or not.

In England, he appeared to have a new outlook, but in Kanpur, he fell back into his old ways.

Kohli, on the other hand, knows that he has only one player who can stop Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje with the new Kookaburra when the squad heads to South Africa.

As a result, supporters of both Pujara and Rahane can take heart in the fact that they will be available for this match unless they are ruled out via injury.

Those who want to bait Kohli will remark that he, too, hasn’t scored a three-figure score in more than two years and that Rahane isn’t the only Indian captain who hasn’t done so.

As a result, one might predict that Mayank Agarwal will be given the boot for being low-hanging fruit.

A fifty from Shubman Gill in the first innings, despite a gaping hole between bat and pad, means that he will be given a chance as a long-term middle-order option.

Kohli will replace Agarwal as a one-to-one replacement. The next question is who will open with Gill.

Cheteshwar Pujara or KS Bharat are the only options.

Pujara’s current form could make him a poor candidate, whereas Bharat has the necessary first-class cricket experience with the best score of 308.

Having Bharat replace Wriddhiman Saha, who has been suffering from a stiff neck, could prevent the team management from making difficult decisions during the match.

New Zealand’s Kane Williamson-led team lacked Wagner’s presence in Kanpur, where he could have wreaked havoc on India in the second innings. Both pacers and spinners may be at risk because of the weather and a surface that isn’t lit up.

Despite Will Somerville’s heroics in Kanpur, New Zealand’s three-pronged onslaught could bode difficulty for India on a spicy track, and he may have to sit out.

With Ishant Sharma utterly out of rhythm, India may put Mohammed Siraj into the picture, but with the projected turn, three spinners may be retained.


All-rounders Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, and Cheteshwar Pujara make up India’s batting line-up. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, and Axar Patel make up India’s bowling. Ravichandran Jadeja and Axar Patel make up India’s bowling.

Captain Kane Williamson, Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (wk), Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, and Mitchell Santner make up New Zealand’s batting line-up.

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