MSK Prasad names India’s reserve opener for New Zealand series

It’s said opportunities are never lost and the recent suspension of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul by the BCCI proved that. The exit of Pandya and Rahul from the Indian squad has seen Vijay Shankar and Shubman Gill replacing them.


Pandya and Rahul have been called back to India from the ongoing ODI series in Australia after the duo made controversial comments about women in the celebrity talk show “Koffee with Karan”.

As their replacements, Shankar has been picked for both the Australia and New Zealand series, while Shubman will be joining the Indian squad only for the New Zealand ODIs and T20Is.


Chief selector MSK Prasad is also quite excited about the young lad who made an impressive mark in the Under-19 World Cup last year in New Zealand ending up as the player of the tournament.

Shubman has played nine first-class games so far after making his debut in 2017 and also featured for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL last year after his rich World Cup exploits. He scored 268 runs in his first Ranji Trophy game this season for Punjab against Tamil Nadu and had a productive tour of New Zealand with India ‘A’ preceding it.

“Shubman is comfortable both opening the innings as well as playing in the middle-order. For New Zealand series, we are looking at him as the reserve opener behind Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. I won’t comment if he will make it to World Cup but he was phenomenal as an opener for India A in New Zealand,” Prasad said.

Shubman Gill

“We have discussed with Rahul (Dravid), that Shubman is ready for international cricket. The best part is the clutch of A tours which has made all these players battle ready for the biggest challenge,” Prasad added.

Shubman has surpassed the 1000-run mark in the first-class cricket in only 15 innings at an average of 77.78 and a strike rate of 77.28.

“It is a big advantage (to be picked for the New Zealand tour). I played well there in the U-19 World Cup and now again I have got the opportunity,” Shubman told PTI on Sunday.

“As I have done well there, I can say that there isn’t much adjustment needed in the technique. If I get an opportunity, I will have just need to handle the pressure that comes with playing for India. Mentally, it will be different for sure but I am ready,” he added.

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