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India’s head coach Ravi Shastri believes ‘the sky remains the limit’ for young batsmen Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, both of whom are in contention to play the first Test against New Zealand at Wellington.
Rohit Sharma was originally going to partner Mayank Agarwal but was ruled out of the series with a calf muscle injury, therefore opening up a slot atop the order for the two talented youngsters.
“Both are supremely exciting talents. Regardless of who gets into the XI in Wellington, the fact of the matter is they’re here, part of India’s national squad, and from here on they should know that the sky remains the limit,” Shastri told The Times of India.
“They’re all from the same school, you know. They love facing the new ball, enjoy a challenge. Rohit is unfortunately out so that puts Shubman and Prithvi in contention to open with Mayank. That competition is necessary and that’s what makes a bunch of 15 look strong and stable.”
India’s tour of New Zealand has been a mixed one so far. While they swept the T20I series 5-0, they were swept 3-0 by the hosts in the ODI series that followed.
However, Shastri brushed off the ODI series loss by saying that ODI cricket in this calendar year “remains relatively irrelevant” and added that the team’s focus will remain on playing ‘like the world’s No. 1 Test team’ despite missing a few key players like Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya through injury.
“We need 100 points to be in contention to play at Lord’s (in the World Test Championship final). Two overseas wins out of six Tests will keep us in good stead. We play six Tests overseas this year (two in NZ and four in Australia). So, that’s one objective.
“The other is to play like the world’s No. 1 Test team, because that’s what this team believes in more than anything else. On the Test front, that’s what we’re looking at.
“Around four to five of our core are missing. Bhuvi could’ve been extremely useful in the conditions here, but never mind. That’s why I said, having options available are always in the best interests of the team.”
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