Composition of India-A Teams


I was recently reading this interview in The Hindustan Times by Dilip Vengsarkar, the Indian Chairman of Selectors. There was a comment by Vengsarkar on the composition of India-A sides that got me thinking.

Vengsarkar said that in his view, “the BCCI must organise [India-A tours] on a war footing“. I don’t think any Team India fan would disagree with him on that view. I am not sure if the BCCI is listening though! There is no reason why India-A should not be continually on tour to some part of the globe. An alternative would be for India-A and India-B to constantly play against each other! Why not? How else would you know if, for example, Munaf Patel has tested himself in a match situation?

Vengsarkar then says that, in his opinion, “the right age group would be the under-25s“.

I am not sure I agree with that view. I think India-A should include players who are on the fringes of national-team selection and if they happen to be under 25 years of age, then so be it.

If we take the current Team India that is in the UK as the representative team of the moment, then we can think of the following players who are on the fringes of national selection (for Tests matches).

Openers:
Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Gautam Gambhir

Middle-order bats:
Dinesh Mongia, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Kaif, S. Badrinath, Venugopala Rao, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Robin Uthappa

Wicket Keepers:
Parthiv Patel, Puneet Bisht

Pace-bowlers:
Munaf Patel, Ajit Agarkar, V Yo Mahesh, Rakesh Patel, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Joginder Sharma, V. R. V. Singh

Spinners:
Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Pawar, Piyush Chawla, Murali Kartik, K. P. Appanna

I may have missed some names. If I have, please add them to the Comments section and I will update this list a few days later…

Note that only some of these 27 players are under-25. But most of them are often mentioned in the context of being on the verge of consideration of national duties. I think that a subset of this set of players should constantly play either in some part of the world or in India against each other. That is the only way to (a) keep the seniors honest, (b) ensure that people like Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel are match-fit, (c) ascertain true bench strength, (d) sharpen match skills of players in a slightly higher-intensity setting than the Ranji Trophy setting.

Views?

— Mohan

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6 responses to “Composition of India-A Teams

  1. Mohan,

    As far as I know, Akash Chopra, Dinesh Mongia, Rakesh Patel, Nehra and Murali Kartik are never going to be considered for India’s matches.

    Also Gambhir is already with the test team in England and Appanna is in the U-19 squad travelling to Lanka later this month.

    So I would suggest Dhawan’s name for the opener’s slot instead of Gambhir. Isn’t Uthappa an opener in the domestic circuit though?

    In place of Murali Kartik, I’d like the board to groom Abdullah instead who is an extremely talented bowler.

    I’ll have to look for the name in the pace deparment which I had found 3 months back.

    How did you miss Virat Kohli of Delhi ?

  2. An excellent idea but it assumes that the management (BCCI) has a clear goal or a set of goals and one of that is to get India to be the top team! No action of BCCI supports that presumption 🙂

  3. Chandan

    I won’t consider the door to be closed on Dinesh Mongia and Aakash Chopra although your point on Nehra is perhaps quite valid. Murali Kartik’s inclusion in the mix just points to the bareness of the cupboard. I can’t remember where I read it, but Vengsarkar recently commented along similar lines when talking about left-arm spinning options in India.

    Apologies for including Gambhir. It was an oversight and perhaps my innate desire that he shouldn’t be in the mix for the senior team 🙂

    Dhawan should be in the mix. You are right. Isn’t it amazing that 4 of the opener-contenders (Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Dhawan and Gambhir) are all from Delhi?

    And you are right about Uthappa.

    The point about assembling a team of 26-30 personnel accommodates the possibility that, at any point in time, some of these personnel may be travelling on other representative teams (U-19, NCA-XI, etc). Hence Appanna. In my view he is one U-19 who is perhaps ‘ready’ for India-A duties already.

    And yes, Abdullah and Kohli should perhaps be in too.

    Thanks.

  4. Mohan,

    Tell us more about Appanna. I hardly know anything about him apart from the fact that he had an impressive 06-07 Ranji season!

    And the spin cupboard is not as bare as Vengsarkar has suggested. How about the leggie Amit Mishra? Also there is very good SLA bowler named Shahabaz Nadeem who plays for Bihar and hence isn’t in the news as much. I had seen him bowling with Chawla at U-19 level and Maninder Singh especially had praised him in glowing terms.

  5. Pragyan Ojha is rated higher than Appanna (and I think the selectors concur with this). They are both young and will soon be fighting for the “one” left arm spinner spot…

    In the words of VV Kumar – “Appanna has shown in his first season that he has promise. But he needs time – I wouldn’t recommend playing him ahead of Ojha” (Source: CricInfo Magazine). I think it is time to do more of my “Prospective Players” posts and I will include Appanna in it.

    Chandan – The fact that Shahbaz Nadeem has a very high bowling average in spite of playing in the (weaker) plate league shows that he has a long way to go (this was also talked about in the same issue of CricInfo)

  6. Pingback: Possible India-A Team « i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

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