IND vs NZ: Slot of bother for Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw
In-form Shubman Gill fancies debut in the first Test but insists there is no competition with Prithvi Shaw, his 2018 U-19 World Cup captain, who won the title in New Zealand.
Hamilton: Mayank Agarwal may have had an ordinary ODI series against New Zealand, but he is certain to start as one of the openers in the first Test at Wellington from February 21.
Who will partner Agarwal is a choice the Indian think tank will have to make. They have two contenders to choose from—Mumbai's Prithvi Shaw and Punjab's Shubman Gill. While Gill, 22, is in phenomenal touch and could have an edge, Shaw, 20, has the advantage of playing two Test matches [v West Indies in 2018] with a century on debut.
Gill was part of the three List A and two first-class games against New Zealand 'A'. His last three innings scores in the two first-class matches read: 83, 204 not out and 136. Gill, who replaced injured Rohit Sharma for the two Tests against New Zealand, said he is taking confidence from the recent India 'A' series here. "There are no expectations as such. We had the India 'A' tour before this and it went well for me. Let's see what the team requires and what my role is," said a confident Gill on Thursday.
There is no doubt that Gill is fancying his chances to earn his Test cap in the same country where he made his ODI debut last year. "The amount of time given during practice and match-practice, from that point of view, I am ready," said Gill.
This is not the first time that Gill and Shaw are playing in New Zealand. In 2018, Gill was part of the India U-19 World Cup team led by Shaw that won the title here. As far as international exposure is concerned, Shaw has a bit more than Gill, thanks to his ODI debut last week against the Kiwis.
Gill tried to downplay the fierce competition with Shaw for the lone opener's spot in the Test team. "Obviously, our careers started at the same time but there is no fight as such. Both of us have done well in our positions. It's up to the team management, who to play.
Whoever gets the chance will try to make the most of the opportunity and not let it go waste," said Gill.
Perhaps, the three-day practice game, beginning today, will help the Indian team management to firm up their decision depending on how Shaw and Gill perform against New Zealand XI.
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