Virat Kohli's return after a well-earned break couldn't have come in a more unenvious setting as he needs to tread the fine line between tough and prudent in his selection calls when India take on New Zealand in the second and final Test at the rain-soaked 'Maximum City' from Friday.
After an anti-climactic end to the first Test where New Zealand escaped with a creditable draw defying the Indian spinners on a slow turner, the home team under its regular captain would certainly go for a slight rejig in the combination.
Probable Playing XI
India Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli (C), Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal/Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Ishant Sharma.
Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill/Shreyas Iyer, Kane Williamson, Tom Latham, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav
Wicket-keeper (Wriddhiman Saha)
Fit-again Wriddhiman Saha is the only inclusion in this department given his heroics in the last Test, where he tweaked his stance to deal with a stiff neck and scored a half-century as well.
Batter (Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill/Shreyas Iyer, Kane Williamson, Tom Latham)
Virat Kohli's inclusion in the line-up has brought back many fans's attention towards the match. This will be his first game after letting go captaincy of the T20 format and will be looking to set the record straight as a century alluded him over a year now. Shreyas Iyer is the most in-form Indian batter in the series after a splendid debut in Kanpur. However, management often works in mysterious ways and if they decide to drop him for the Test to keep Ajinkya Rahane in the line-up then Shubman Gill could be the next best batting option.
Among Kiwis, Tom Latham and Kane Williamson get a spot in our line-up. Latham has been in flawless form with two half centuries while Williamson looks a knock away from scoring big.
All-Rounder (R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja)
Both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have delivered the goods with bat and ball in this tournament and are obvious pick for our Dream11.
Bowler (Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav)
With the overcast weather and rain coming into play, pacers will have a big say in the game and that's why we went for Mohammed Siraj. It was a tough choice between Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma for the other spot but we opted for Umesh given he purchased couple of wickets in the last game. Among Kiwis, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson walk into the line-up after their impressive shows on a Kanpur surface that provided little help to the pacers.
Kohli confirmed that the team's oldest player Wriddhiman Saha has recovered from his stiff neck, which had prevented him from keeping during the better part of the Kanpur Test. New Zealand, on the other hand, don't have an injury concern as per the latest updates. Keep eye on this space for latest injury updates leading to the match.
India Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha, KS Bharat, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Md. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.
New Zealand Kane Williamson (C), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Will Young, Neil Wagner.
The Wankhede pitch has often provided pace for batters to bank on but spinners do come into play as the days progress. However, with the overcast weather and unseasonal rainfall means the pacers will be egging on to bowl.
According to Weather.com, the chances of rainfall on Day 1 is 40 per cent after torrential rain on Thursday forced teams to call off training. And while there’s no rain forecast over the weekend, cloudy skies are expected to be prevalent.
You can watch India vs New Zealand 2nd Test Live Online on Hotstar and TV Telecast on Star Sports Network.