Middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer has been reportedly brought into the Indian squad for the New Zealand Test series as a possible backup for out-of-form players, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Iyer hasn’t played red-ball cricket for a while now and is yet to make his debut in Tests for the national team. Hanuma Vihari, the supposed backup option in the middle-order, was left out of the Indian squad but was named in India ‘A’ team for the South Africa tour.
According to reports in TOI, Pujara and Rahane’s poor form is a concern for the selectors, and the inclusion of Iyer shows the path they are willing to take. The upcoming series against the Black Caps will give an idea about Iyer’s status in the longest format of the game.
Also, the main priority of the management is to strengthen the middle-order. There are also calls for pushing Shubman Gill down the order to accommodate him in the middle, now that KL Rahul has made the opener spot his own.
“One must remember Dravid had advocated for shadow ‘A’ tours before every big away tour. This allows Vihari and Prithvi to get used to the conditions and if they do well, they will be inducted into the Test team in South Africa. Anyway, India never needed specialist batters till No.7 in India. Ravindra Jadeja can bat up the order and R Ashwin too has been good on Indian pitches,” a source was quoted as saying to TOI.
India squad for New Zealand Test series:
Ajinkya Rahane (c), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara (vc), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.