Chance for fringe players

Chance for fringe players

India, Bangla players eye national call as battle of 'A' sides begins

Chance for fringe players
It maybe a series between the ‘A’ sides of India and Bangladesh but players from both teams will have plenty to play for when the first of three one-dayers kicks off at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday.

With South Africa visiting India next month for a marathon tour and Bangladesh hosting Australia for a two-match Test series in October, this series presents players from both the sides a chance to not only fine-tune their skills but also an opportunity for some of the fringe players to make an impression on the selectors.

While six Indian players from the current side are in the senior national camp -- in Bengaluru from Sept 21-27 -- from which much of the squad for the South Africa series is likely to be chosen, the others could use the contests as a chance to make a name for themselves.

“Its a great learning opportunity for some of our younger players,” reckoned India ‘A’ coach Rahul Dravid. “They have a solid amount of international players in their side and some of them very experienced ones. It’s going to be a very good challenge and a learning experience for a lot of our players. It’s a good opportunity for some of them to perform and knock on the door of the selectors.”

“Ours is a lot more inexperienced team. It’s a chance for them to perform well against an international opposition. When you perform well at the international level, your wickets and runs count more. Irrespective of the result, we get to test ourselves against a good team,” added Dravid.

Although Indians normally start as overwhelming favourites in their own backyard, they could be in for a good challenge against the fast-rising Bangladeshis.

Strong squad
Determined to keep their players in top shape, the Bangladesh Cricket Board has sent out a strong squad with seven of them part of the side that defeated India 2-1 in an ODI series in June. With four more having played international cricket, they appear the stronger of the two outfits.

Guys like Soumya Sarkar, Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Arafat Sunny and Taskin Ahmed have been regulars in the senior side and they look balanced in the batting and bowling departments.

Having said that, India have decent ammunition in their ranks to floor the Bangladeshis. Skipper Unmukt Chand, opener Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey have been in fine form and were instrumental in powering India ‘A’ to title victory in a triangular series that featured Australia ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ last month. Another good outing against a strong Bangladesh side would enhance their bid for senior team credentials.

Kedar Jadhav struck a century during India’s tour of Zimbabwe and with the vastly experienced Suresh Raina and talented Karun Nair in the ranks, the batting wears a strong look.

Raina, who hasn’t played much competitive cricket since that Bangladesh series, would be determined to get some valuable match practice ahead of the South Africa series which starts with the T20s followed by the ODIs and Tests.

With some treating it as a preparatory exercise and some considering it as a stepping stone, this series could turn out to be a hard-fought one.

Teams (from): India: Unmukt Chand (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Kuldeep Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Karn Sharma, Rishi Dhawan, S Aravind, Dhawal Kulkarni, Rush Kalaria, Gurkeerat Singh Mann.

Bangladesh: Anamul Hoque Bijoy, Rony Talukdar, Liton Kumar Das, Shabbir Rahaman, Soumya Sarker, Mominul Hoque (captain), Nasir Hossain (vice-captain), Saqlain Sajib, Arafat Sunny, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury, Jubair Hossain.

Hours of play: 9.00 am to 12.30 pm and 1.15 pm to 4.45 pm.
Umpires: P Jaypal, K Srinath. Match referee: S Sharath.

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