India and New Zealand will battle over the next five days in the first match of the two-Test series at Kanpur. India is missing as many as six regulars for this Test with captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami rested, while KL Rahul was ruled out due to injury.
Rahul's injury forced India to fill the gap in the batting order and they had to choose who to hand out a maiden Test cap to between Mumbaikars Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav, who replaced the opener in the squad.
They went with Shreyas, who has played 22 ODIs and 32 T20Is for India. He has scored 4592 runs in 54 first-class matches at an average of 52.18 with 12 hundreds and 23 fifties.
Ahead of the start of play on Thursday (November 25), Shreyas was handed his cap by legendary opener and former captain Sunil Gavaskar, who also hails from Mumbai. Shreyas was visibly emotional and kissed his cap after becoming the 303rd Test cricketer for India.
Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and opted to bat first as India went in with three spinners and two seamers in their playing XI.
This is also a debut of Rahul Dravid as head coach of India in Test cricket and the 'Wall' would love to start on a good note despite the absence of several key players.
India's XI for the First Test: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Cheteshwar Pujara (vc), Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Akshar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.