(Reuters) – West Indies suffered a major setback when captain Jason Holder was ruled out of the opening test against India in Rajkot on Thursday with an ankle injury.
India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat, having decided to go with three frontline spinners in his attack.
Left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav will join Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in India’s slow bowling battery with paceman Shardul Thakur missing out from the 12-man squad India named on Wednesday.
“Looks like a pretty good wicket, the surface is nice and dry. There is grass on it to hold it together because of the conditions. It’s very warm and humid here,” Kohli said at the toss.
“The best time to bat would be the first innings, get some runs on the board. Also we are playing three spinners so they all come into the game later on when the wicket becomes slower and slower.”
Teenage batting prospect Prithvi Shaw will make his debut for India and will open alongside Lokesh Rahul.
Meanwhile, opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite will lead the touring side in Holder’s absence with fast bowler Sherman Lewis handed his debut for the Caribbean team.
“I would have had a bat as well,” Brathwaite said. “We are quite happy. We will try to use that new ball as much as possible, stay aggressive and enjoy the game.
“Holder is not playing, he’s had a slight ankle injury so he’ll be resting this game.”
The second test of the two-match series is in Hyderabad from Oct. 12-16
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Lokesh Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Kieran Powell, Shimron Hetmeyer, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Sunil Ambris, Shane Dowrich (wicketkeeper), Keemo Paul, Devendra Bishoo, Shannon Gabriel, Sherman Lewis.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O’Brien)