21 Feb 2020

Inexperienced Indian batsmen ready for Black Caps attack

6:38 am on 21 February 2020

India vice captain Ajinkya Rahane has no concerns about inexperienced openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal potentially facing a fired-up New Zealand attack on a seaming wicket in the first Test on Friday.

The Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane.

India vice captain Ajinkya Rahane. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Basin Reserve groundsman Hagen Faith said the wicket for the match still had plenty of moisture in it and Rahane was asked what advice he might give his openers if they were sent out to bat first.

"I would only tell them to go out and play their game," he said.

"The ball will do a lot in the first session so it's important to play out the session while keeping their intent positive.

"They don't need that much advice. They both know their games really well. It's about keeping their mindset right and playing the conditions, that's crucial."

Shaw has played just two tests, while Agarwal has played only nine, but both have already proved they can score runs at the highest level.

The 20-year-old Shaw scored a century on debut against West Indies in 2018 but was then injured and suspended for a doping violation.

Agarwal cemented himself in the opening spot in 2019 and has already scored two double centuries, a century as well as three half centuries and owns a test average of 67.07.

If the tourists were put in to bat on Friday, Rahane said, it would be imperative to keep the innings alive at least until the close of play.

"Generally in New Zealand, the wickets become really good to bat on," said the 31-year-old batsman, who scored his maiden test century at the Wellington ground in 2014.

"It's about how you take the first session on the first day. If you can consolidate as a batting team then you have a chance of getting a very good first innings total."

Even if India were bundled out by New Zealand on the first day, there was confidence the bowlers would take wickets at a ground where the hosts stumbled to 86-6 in the first innings of the third test between the two sides in 2014.

"We know that our bowlers will take wickets in any conditions," Rahane said.

"If you lose the toss and bat first then you just have to have the right mindset as a batting unit and go out there and dominate it."

- Reuters