Hamilton, Feb 4: A unique record will be made in Indian cricket when the Men In Blue take on New Zealand in the opening one-dayer at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
After a gap of three years, Team India will see their innings being opened by two debutants. India captain Virat Kohli while addressing a press conference on the eve of the opening game confirmed Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal will open the innings for India.
Senior India opener Rohit Sharma is left out from the ODI series owing to the calf injury he sustained during the fifth and final T20I against New Zealand. Regular opener Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the NZ T20Is and ODIs last month after hurting his left shoulder during the home ODIs against Australia.
Mayank Agarwal, who has been called in as a replacement to Rohit, will now be opening the innings.
Both Agarwal and Shaw have made their international debuts for India in the Tests whites but they are yet to make their debut in the coloured jersey.
The last time such a situation arose in Indian cricket in 2016, when KL Rahul and Karun Nair opened for India on their debuts in Zimbabwe. Rahul made the day special by slamming a century on his debut and handing India a win by nine wickets. Nair, on the other hand, was dismissed cheaply for seven in that game.
Sunil Gavaskar and Sudhir Naik (1974) against England and Parthasarthy Sharma and Dilip Vengsarkar (1976) against New Zealand are the other previous instances when two debutants opened the innings for India.
Kohli had confirmed Shaw and Agarwal's ODI debut while interacting with the media on Tuesday (February 4). The Indian skipper, however, also rued missing a seasoned campaigner like Rohit Sharma.
"It is unfortunate that Rohit cannot be part of the ODI series, the impact he has had is there for everyone to see. We do not have any ODI tournaments to look up to, so it is ideal for him to get recovered. In ODI cricket, Prithvi is definitely going to start, KL will play in the middle-order. We want him to get accustomed to keep and play in the middle," Kohli said.