Now that the Rest of India Irani Trophy team has been announced, it is opportune to turn our sights on to the India ‘A’ team to take on Australia ‘A’ and New Zealand ‘A’ in the tri-nation competition.
Meanwhile, Delhi takes on Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) first, and then RoI in the Nissar Trophy and Irani Trophy respectively.
The Nissar Trophy is an annual fixture between the winners of the Ranji Trophy (India) and the Quaid-e-Azam (Pakistan) domestic competitions. Previous winners were UP (in 2006) and Mumbai (in 2007).
The 2008 instalment shapes up as bit more of a stern test, perhaps, for the Ranji champions. The SNGPL team includes Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Misbah-ul-Haq, Samiullah Niazi and Yasir Arafat, who’ve played at various times for Pakistan.
However, Delhi is a strong team. Although the Kotla ground often takes spin even early on in any match, Delhi have relied strongly on their pace bowling stocks to get them through. In all likelihood, the Delhi team would be (in batting order, perhaps):
Virender Sehwag (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Aakash Chopra, Mayank Tehlan, Mithun Manhas, Virat Kohli, Rajat Bhatia, Puneet Bisht (wk), Ishant Sharma, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashish Nehra. The subs are likely to be: Chetanya Nanda, Amit Bhandari, Narender Singh, Gaurav Chhabra
Ashish Nehra is on the comeback trail. After missing much of last season through injury, he had a strong showing in the IPL and is now back in the Delhi team. Sangwan has impressed one and all with his showing in the U19 World Cup and other outings. Ishant Sharma is one of the rising stars of world cricket. I’d therefore, find it hard to leave Sangwan, Nehra and Ishant Sharma out of the bowling line-up! It is certainly a good selection problem to have, in my view!
India ‘A’, meanwhile, have a strong team to take on Australia ‘A’ and New Zealand ‘A’.
It is likely that the team will be (in order):
S Badrinath (capt)
Dinesh Karthik (wk) / Wriddhiman Saha (wk)
Yusuf Pathan / Abhishek Nayar
Piyush Chawla / Ravi Teja / Jaydev Shah
It is interesting to note that the team has 4 spinners — Chawla, Teja, Shah and Pathan Sr. I do not believe more than two will play.
This is a strong India ‘A’ team with as many as nine players in the mix that have played for India in ODIs (Uthappa, Raina, Rohit Sharma, Badrinath, Karthik, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar and Piyush Chawla)! Of these, two (Karthik and Chawla) have played Tests for India!
It would be good to see how things shape up in this series. Who knows? It may open a door or two for some of these hopefuls in the Team India Test and ODI teams in the immediate future.