Prithvi Shaw to debut in Test against West Indies Thursday

Rajkot: After leading India U19 to a World Cup win in February, Prithvi Shaw is all set to make his Test debut against West Indies tomorrow.

Breaking away from their tradition of not speaking about team selection in advance, the Indian team on Wednesday named a 12-man squad a day before the first Test against West Indies in Rajkot.

The 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw, named in the 12-man list, is likely to open alongside KL Rahul in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan.

However, Hanuma Vihari, who had scored a half-century and picked up three wickets on debut in the final Test against England in September, along with uncapped Mayank Agarwal was overlooked for the opening Test.

India have announced a six batsman and five bowler mix. It will be down to skipper Virat Kohli and the management to decide the bowling combination prior to the match. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav are the three spinners, while Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur are the pacers in the list. A three-seamer combination will see Shardul Thakur make his Test debut.

“We’d like to take the series as a benchmark we would like to set. With a couple of new guys coming in at the top of the order, they have a chance to show the skill set they have got, I think it is a good opportunity for them,”Virat Kohli said in the pre-match press conference.

Prithvi Shaw, who was also part of the Indian side for the last two Tests against England, will become the 293rd Indian player to earn a Test cap on Thursday. The Mumbaikar has scored 1,478 runs in 14 First-class matches at an impressive average of 56.72.

Earlier, India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane praised the teenager and said he wanted Shaw to play his natural game in the series.

“I am definitely happy for him. I’ve been following him since his young days for Mumbai, we practised together. He’s an attacking opening batsman. He’s been doing so well for Mumbai, India A on a consistent basis, so that’s the reward he got. I’m sure he’ll do well,” Rahane said.

INDIA SQUAD FOR THE FIRST TEST: Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw (debut), Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur.

NT Bureau