India 'A' up against a confident South Africa 'A'

India 'A' up against a confident South Africa 'A'

BIG TEST: India 'A' players warm-up with a round of football ahead of their practice session at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday. DH Photo/ Krishnakumar P S

One striking feature of South Africa A's performance against Board President's XI was their comfort level against spin. As many as four batsmen registered fifty-plus scores, including two centuries, against an attack that had three spinners.

Khaya Zondo's men appear well-prepared for the two four-day games against India 'A', who have more refined spinners, starting here at the Chinnaswamy stadium from Saturday. South Africa's struggle against spin is not new but the visitors are taking constructive steps to find a way out of the problem. Before the start of the tour, they attended a spin camp in April in Mumbai. 

Despite the encouraging signs, the visitors' biggest test will be to conquer Yuzvendra Chahal. The attacking leg-spinner, a dominant force in limited overs cricket, will be out to prove that he is cut out for the longer format as well. Skipper Virat Kohli's endorsement of Chahal during the ODI series against England adds value to the 28-year-old's selection.  

"He (Chahal) has been playing red ball cricket after a very long time. It's good to have a leg-spinner in a four-day game. You get a lot of turn on these tracks and leg-spinners can get wickets at any stage of the game. He is a senior player in the team and he has played in different conditions so he will play a key role," said India 'A' skipper Shreyas Iyer here at a press conference on Friday. 

The two four-day games will be followed by the Quadrangular series, which will see India 'A' and 'B' teams taking on Australia 'A' and South Africa 'A' in Vijayawada. Shreyas, who came up the ranks on the back of some fine performances on such tours, said he understands the importance of playing for India 'A'. "We see A tours as an opportunity. If we do well here we get calls for the senior team, I have got calls in the past. It's just one step away from the main team so we need to be consistent," the right-hand batsman offered. 

Shreyas last played a first-class game in November. The Mumbaikar has had a busy limited overs schedule. After playing three ODIs in South Africa, Shreyas led Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. The 23-year-old is back from a decent England tour, where he top-scored (44) for India 'A' in the final of the triangular one-day series against England Lions. 

"I am also playing this format after for a very long time. But I want to be positive and I always back myself. My shot selection is usually flamboyant. I am not thinking too much about national selection because it's not in my hands," he explained. 

Zonda predicted an intense competition. "Whenever we played India, it's been good series. The level is always high and they have some really good players. So we expect a good challenge," he said. 


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