Blackcaps v India: India lose opener KL Rahul for series against New Zealand, Shreyas Iyer confirmed to make test debut

India batter Shreyas Iyer will make his test debut against the Blackcaps at Kanpur.

Opener KL Rahul has been ruled out with a left thigh strain, paving the way for the 26-year-old Mumbai batsman to come into the side for the first of two tests, starting Thursday.

"Shreyas is going to make his debut," says stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane. "Unfortunately, KL is injured, he is not going to be part of the test team for the next two matches. 

"It's obviously a big blow - he did really well in England. He was in good form and played well in the T20s.

"We will miss him, but we have guys who can do the job, guys who have done well for us in the past and are experienced."

Beaten by New Zealand in the World Test Championship final in June, India are already without regular captain Virat Kohli, who decided to skip the first match.

Batter Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, and fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have been rested for both matches.

Iyer has been a regular for India in the white-ball format, playing 22 one-dayers and 32 Twenty20 internationals.

Rahane says the hosts are yet to finalise their combination for the match, but added that the series would be a good opportunity for those coming into the side in the absence of the big names.

Spin bowling will be the deciding factor in the match and Rahane, 33, says it's important for India to maximise their home advantage.

"We are backing our bowlers to take 20 wickets on spin-friendly pitches," Rahane says. "At the same time, it will be good to bat on.

"That is a challenge, as a batter, to play at the highest level you have to adapt to the situations, conditions and then once you are set, try and get a big one."


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