In preparation for the red-ball series against England Lions, the BCCI senior men’s selection committee, under the leadership of chairman Ajit Agarkar, has revealed the 13-member India A squad. The series, serving as a precursor to England’s five-match Test series against India starting from January 25, includes a two-day warm-up game commencing on January 12 at the Narendra Modi Stadium Ground ‘B’, Ahmedabad, followed by the first four-day match on January 17 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.
Captaincy and Squad Composition
Bengal cricketer Abhimanyu Easwaran, who was part of the Indian Test side during the South Africa tour, has been named the captain of the India A squad. The lineup features promising players such as Sai Sudharsan, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, and Pradosh Paul, all eyeing a middle-order spot in the Indian Test side. Notable performers like Sai Sudharsan and Patidar, who made their ODI debuts in South Africa, are eager to make an impact in the red-ball format.
The pace department will be spearheaded by Navdeep Saini and Akash Deep. The inclusion of Akash Deep, who joined India’s ODI squad in the latter part of the South Africa ODIs, adds depth to the bowling lineup. The competition for the third seamer’s spot will be between Karnataka’s Vidwath Kaverappa and veteran Mumbai pacer Tushar Deshpande. Young Rajasthan left-arm pacer Manav Suthar, impressive in the last domestic season, will be keen to showcase his skills to the selectors.
Significance and Challenges
The India A and England Lions series offers a crucial opportunity for players to stake their claim for a spot in the senior team, especially after the disappointing performances of Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer in South Africa. The timing of the two matches, however, poses a challenge as they coincide with the ongoing round two and round three matches of the Ranji Trophy, which began on Friday.
The players participating in the India A series are well aware that a strong performance can significantly enhance their chances of securing a spot in the national team, considering the rigours of the upcoming five-match Test series against England. The eyes of cricket enthusiasts will be on these budding talents as they aim to make a mark and strengthen their positions in the Indian cricketing landscape.
India A Squad: Abhimanyu Easwaran (Captain), Sai Sudharsan, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Pradosh Ranjan Paul, KS Bharat (WK), Manav Suthar, Pulkit Narang, Navdeep Saini, Tushar Deshpande, Vidwath Kaverappa, Dhruv Jurel (WK), Akash Deep