Kanpur: On the eve of the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, ex-India cricketer Aakash Chopra predicted the XI that may take the field on Thursday. The big surprise was the non-inclusion of Suryakumar Yadav, who was drafted into the mix after KL Rahul was ruled out due to an injury. Chopra reckons Shreyas Iyer will make his debut.

Chopra picked a team that features five batters and three spinners. He backed Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill to open the innings. At No 3, he slotted in Cheteshwar Pujara, while at No 4 – he backed captain Ajinkya Rahane. Iyer, who would be playing his maiden Test, may come in at No 5 as per Chopra. Chopra wants Ravindra Jadeja at No 6 followed by Wriddhiman Saha at No 7.

“Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Pujara at three, Rahane at four, Iyer at five. These will be your five batsmen. After that, play Jadeja at six. Jadeja can bat at six. Whichever keeper plays, it should be Saha in my opinion, keep him at seven.”

The two pacers he picked are Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj despite the more-experienced Ishant Sharma in the squad. He added: “My two fast bowlers will be Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj because they will get the ball to reverse swing better than Ishant Sharma.”

India’s Predicted XI For 1st Test vs New Zealand: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravi Ashwin, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

Regular Test captain Virat Kohli, who is on a break, would join the side as the skipper for the second Test.