International Cricket

India vs NZ 2020: 1st Test Stats Preview and Predicted Playing 11

India vs NZ 2020: India look to continue their dominant run at the World Test Championship as we look at the stats preview, and the predicted playing 11 for the first Test.


Occasion First Test, India vs New Zealand
Location Wellington 
Date & Time Friday, 21st February, 2020, 4 am IST


The T20I and ODI series on India’s tour of New Zealand have been a completely one-sided affair for both the teams. While India won the T20I series 5-0, New Zealand came back stronger to win the ODI series 3-0.

So, going by the trend, do we expect the Test series to be also whitewashed by either of the teams? Well, it certainly doesn’t look that way because both the teams are very strong. While India start favorites having had an excellent run in the longest format of the going over the past 12 months, New Zealand at home are an invincible side.

Ths history too suggests the same. While India does have an upper hand over New Zealand having won 21 out of 57 matches with a W/L ratio of 2.1, it is their record in New Zealand that is the challenge. Out of 23 matches played in New Zealand, India have won only 5 matches with a W/L ratio of 0.625.

As usual, India dominate most of the batting records, and New Zealand dominate most of the bowling records. For India, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar stand-out with their performances, Sir Richard Hadlee has been the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand.

So, on that note, let’s look at the stats overview of both the teams while playing against each other.   


Overall Matches Played: 57

India: 21 Wins || New Zealand: 10 Wins || Draw: 26


24- Most Matches played by a Batsman – Sachin Tendulkar (IND)

1658- Most Runs by Rahul Dravid (IND)

120- Best Batting Average (Min 6 inns and 300 runs) by Dilip Sardesai (IND)

302- Highest Score by Brendon Mccullum (NZ)

6– Most Centuries Scores by Rahul Dravid (IND)

9- Most Fifties by Mark Burgess (NZ)

5– Most Ducks by Zaheer Khan (IND)


15- Most Matches played by a Bowler – Daniel Vettori  (NZ)

65- Most Wickets by Sir Richard Hadlee (NZ)

13.7- Best Bowling Average (Min 6 inns and 12 wickets) by Arshad Ayub (IND) 

28- Lowest Bowling Strike Rate (Min 6 inns and 12 wickets) by Shane Bond (NZ)

8/72- Best Bowling figures by S Venkataraghavan (IND)



Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal

In the absence of India’s premier opener, Rohit Sharma, either of Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill would get an opportunity to open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal, who has had a fantastic 2019 as an opener in tests.

Given that Prithvi Shaw was India’s preferred opener before he got injured, and has been in good form playing for India A and the warm-up match, Prithvi Shaw is most-likely to open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal.

This would be a test of patience for both the openers. Both are extremely talented with a solid technique. If they can hold on to the nerves for the initial 30-45 mins, India would be in the driving condition in both the matches.


Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), and Ajinkya Rahane

The middle-order would see the return of India’s test specialists, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane alongside captain, Virat Kohli. While Pujara had a superb outing in the warm-up match scoring 93, Rahane was dismissed cheaply for 18. However, both these players would play a crucial for India’s success if India have to maintain their unbeaten run in the World Test Championship. 

Virat Kohli, on the other hand, has had a below-par outing on this tour so far. He scored 105 runs in the T20I series, and 75 runs in the ODI series at an average of 26 and 25 respectively. Hence, he would be itching to conclude the series on a high.

Lower-order and Wicket-keeper:

Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant

Hanuma Vihari has been in solid form playing for India as well as India A over the past few months. Given the need for an extra batsman in overseas conditions, Hanuma Vihari should play as Team India’s sixth batsman in the line-up.

Rishabh Pant, who has been completely ignored in the T20I and ODI series so far scored a blazing fifty in the warm-up match, and took crucial catches as a wicket-keeper. Given the need of a batsman-keeper than a keeper-batsman, Rishabh Pant should edge Wriddhiman Saha for the wicket-keeper slot.   


Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ishant Sharma

Ravindra Jadeja, India’s front-line spin all-rounder in overseas conditions should keep his place ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin unless team management plays Ashwin in place of Vihari to accommodate an extra all-rounder. However, that possibility looks less-likely.

In the fitness trials conducted in NCA on 15th February, Ishant Sharma was declared fit. This should come as a big relief for the team management given Ishant’s match-winning abilities in overseas conditions. He should most-likely draft himself in the playing 11 alongside India’s pace spearheads, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami 

So, that completes the predicted playing 11 for Team India for the first Test between India and New Zealand. Here’s the consolidated line-up for both the teams. 

India vs NZ First Test Predicted Playing 11 for Team India:

Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah

India vs NZ First Test Predicted Playing 11 for New Zealand: 

Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (WK), Colin de Grandhomme, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Neil Wagner/ Kyle Jamieson. 

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