Toss India chose to bat v West Indies

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The former India wicketkeeper feels that the hosts should include three spinners at Rajkot

After losing five tosses in a row, India’s captain Virat Kohli finally won one and opted to bat on a pitch with a fair covering of grass in the first Test against West Indies in Rajkot. The hosts, who had already announced their XII on the eve of the game, a departure from previous years, picked three spinners with left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav getting the nod ahead of fast bowler Shardul Thakur.

Prithvi Shaw, 18, who has been racking up the runs for India A and Mumbai, became the youngest player to make his Test debut for India in over a decade. West Indies, meanwhile, handed a debut to fast bowler Sherman Lewis, who had been drafted into the squad as a like-for-like replacement for Alzarri Joseph. He had claimed eight wickets for West Indies A against India A in a four-dayer in Beckenham in July this year.

West Indies, who had already lost Kemar Roach – he had returned home because of a bereavement in the family – were further depleted by an ankle injury to their captain Jason Holder. Kraigg Brathwaite stood in as captain and said West Indies were looking to bat first too. Sunil Ambris, who had cracked an unbeaten 114 off 98 balls in the tour game against Indian Board President’s XI in Vadodara found a place in the middle order alongside Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase and wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich.

In contrast to India, West Indies picked just one frontline spinner in legspinner Devendra Bishoo.

India: 1 KL Rahul, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 R Ashwin, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Kuldeep Yadav

West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Kieran Powell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Sunil Ambris, Shane Dowrich (wk), Keemo Paul, Devendra Bishoo, Sherman Lewis, Shannon Gabriel

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