NEW DELHI: Captain Rohit Sharma has confirmed on Tuesday that there will be a new opening partnership for India in the first Test of the two-match series against West Indies, set to begin in Dominica on Wednesday.
As the ICC World Test Championship 2023-2025 cycle kicks off, 21-year-old left-hander
is expected to join Rohit Sharma as his opening partner.
Jaiswal had an impressive year in white-ball cricket, scoring 625 runs in the 2023 IPL with an average of 48 and a strike rate of 163.61. He has also shown prowess in red-ball cricket, boasting an average of over 80 in his first 26 First-Class innings and scoring a remarkable 265 in the second innings of the Duleep Trophy Final last year.
To fill the position left vacant by Cheteshwar Pujara, who was not selected for this tour, Rohit Sharma’s current partner,
, will move down to the No. 3 position, as confirmed by the Indian captain in a pre-match press conference.
“Gill will play at number 3 because Gill himself wants to play at number 3,” stated Rohit. “He discussed with Rahul (Dravid) that I have played all my cricket at 3 and 4. I think I can do better for my team if I bat at number 3. And it is good for us too because it becomes an opening combination of left and right.”
Rohit expressed his optimism about the new opening partnership and the inclusion of a left-hander, saying, “So I think we will try to do this and hopefully this will go on for a long time. Because we have been looking for a left-hander for many years. So now that we have got that left-hander, let’s hope he performs well for the team. And he can really make that spot his own.”
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane had earlier hinted at Jaiswal’s inclusion in the playing XI and sent a message of encouragement to the young talent. Rahane commended Jaiswal’s performance in domestic cricket for Mumbai and his success in the IPL, and advised him to play with freedom and express his batting abilities in the international arena.
In addition, Rohit Sharma confirmed that India would field two spinners in the opening Test. Although he did not mention specific names, it is expected that Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will occupy the two spinner spots, with Axar Patel serving as the reserve spinner in the squad.
(With inputs from ANI)