India 'A' aim for bright beginning against WI

Last Updated 24 September 2013, 16:53 IST

India ‘A’ may have regained some pride with a win over West Indies ‘A’ in the one-off T20 international after having lost two out of the three one-dayers against the same side, but a victory – even if by convincing margin – in the shortest format is of little consolation.

However, three four-day unofficial ‘Tests’ give the Indians a chance to get back at the visitors for the series loss at home, and it all begins here at the Gangotri Glades from Wednesday.

The squad for the first game does not feature Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir or Zaheer Khan, who are to join the team for the second and third games, but the Cheteshwar Pujara-led outfit has a lot of potential and will be hoping to come good against a West Indian side which has proven itself a worthy challenger.

While spectators in Mysore would’ve hoped to catch Sehwag’s pyrotechnics or Zaheer’s wizardry, they won’t complain much as they will get to witness Rahul Dravid’s heir-apparent Pujara in action.

Besides the job of stacking up runs, Pujara, who has a Test average of 65.55, will also have the additional responsibility of leading the side like he did so ably against South Africa.

The batting line-up could be considered a ‘weak-link’ because it is hard to predict how players like KL Rahul, Manpreet Juneja, Jiwanjot Singh and Harshad Khadiwale would perform at this level.

However, if one solely goes by the domestic performance of someone like Karnataka’s Rahul or a Ahmedabad’s Juneja -- who did well against New Zealand ‘A’ -- India’s batting line-up can be considered a threat.

The bowling attack on the other hand looks both solid and experienced. Led by seasoned campaigner Ashok Dinda, India’s pace unit comprises Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Pandey and Dhawal Kulkarni, while off-spinner Parvez Rasool will be watched keenly.

India have all the right components in their arsenal but they will still need to fire against the Windies who are fielding a side more than capable of toppling the best in the business at this level.

Skipper for ‘Tests’ Kirk Edwards has led from the front for the visitors with his consistent batting displays in one-dayers while Jonathan Carter will also hope to continue with his run-scoring ways. Kraigge Brathwaite and Kieran Powell can also prove handy.

To add to a well-set batting line-up, the Windies carry a power-packed bowling unit which could potentially dictate the fate of this encounter.

Shane Shillingford and Miguel Cummins have the ability and the pace to do some serious damage. Left-arm orthodox Veerasammy Permaul and Nikita Miller can inflict the same with their guile.

The intensity and the crowd following may not match-up to what could’ve been had Sehwag, Gambhir and Zaheer showed up here, but with the teams matching up evenly, an interesting contest will stir up the quiet that surrounds this picturesque venue.

Teams (from): India ‘A’: Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), Jiwanjot Singh, KL Rahul, Manpreet Juneja, Rajat Paliwal, Harshad Khadiwale, Parvez Rasool, Bhargav Bhatt, Ishwar Chand Pandey, Mohammed Shami, Ashok Dinda, Rohit Motwani (wicketkeeper), Dhawal Kulkarni, Paras Dogra.

West Indies ‘A’: Kirk Edwards (captain), Kieran Powell (vice-captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Miguel Cummins, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Jahmar Hamilton, Delorn Johnson, Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Veerasammy Permaul and Chadwick Walton.

(Published 24 September 2013, 16:52 IST)

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