Tag Archives: India-A

Possible India ‘A’ and Delhi Teams

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):

Robin Uthappa
Swapnil Asnodkar
Suresh Raina
Rohit Sharma
S Badrinath (capt)
Dinesh Karthik (wk) / Wriddhiman Saha (wk)
Yusuf Pathan / Abhishek Nayar
Irfan Pathan
Praveen Kumar
Dhawal Kulkarni
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.

— Mohan

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India ‘A’ continues to impress…

For a few months now, I have been following the exploits of the India ‘A’ team captained by Mohammed Kaif. After impressive showings against Zimbabwe Select, Kenya and Sri Lanka A, the team continues its good showing against a South Africa ‘A’ side that includes many players that have turned out for the Springboks national team in the past.

While India ‘A’ includes Mohammed Kaif (13 Tests, 125 ODIs), Parthiv Patel (19 Tests, 14 ODIs), Ishant Sharma (1 Test, 1 ODI) and Suresh Raina (36 ODIs) as players who have donned India colours, South Africa ‘A’ includes Morne van Wijk (5 ODIs), A. Petersen (2 ODIs), Gulam Bodi (2 ODIs), Boeta Dippenar (38 Tests, 107 ODIs), Albie Morkel (12 ODIs), Justin Ontong (2 Tests, 21 ODIs), Thami Tsolekile (3 Tests), Vernon Philander (5 ODIs), Johan Botha (1 Test, 13 ODIs), Charl Langeveldt (6 Tests, 48 ODIs).

India won the 2-match Test Series 1-0 (one match was rained out). The first 2 ODIs were completely rained-out. In the latest ODI, India beat South Africa by 1 run off the last ball in a thriller at Rajkot.

S. Badrinath continues to impress with both bat and ball and in my view, it is only a matter of time before this exciting 27-year-old dons India colours. He is a valuable bat, an electric fielder and a competent off-spinner too.

For sometime now, I have been saying that India really needs a few good allrounders in its ODI make up. While welcoming the return-to-form of Irfan Pathan, I have been dismayed with the selectors’ reluctance to invest in Joginder Sharma for the ODIs against Australia. This after captain M. S. Dhoni had invested his reputation as well as India’s fortunes in the T20 Championship in two of the biggest last overs an Indian has bowled in international cricket!

Here is a quote on Joginder Sharma from Dileep Premachandran’s article on Dhoni.

His treatment of Sharma in the two biggest matches of the tournament summed up his qualities as captain. You or I could toss the ball to a Wasim Akram or a Curtly Ambrose and calmly watch a match clinched in the final over. It requires no great leadership quality or tactical nous.

The real test of captaincy lies in bringing the fringe player into the centre circle and making him feel that he’s not a misfit there. It’s almost certain that no other Indian captain of the last decade and more would have dared go with Sharma for those final overs. By doing so Dhoni was emphasising sport’s greatest but often forgotten truth – it’s not about the stars, it’s about the XI. And sometimes the unlikeliest ones shine brightest.

And after that bold and forthright statement, and especially when an opportunity persented itself with Piyush Chawla’s freak injury, Joginder Sharma has been cast to the sidelines.

I have been following the careers of allrounders like him and Praveen Kumar, the 20-year old allrounder from UP. He plays alongside R. P. Singh, Piyush Chawla, and Suresh Raina in the UP side. He is a carefree bat and an opening bowler. He opened the batting and bowling in yesterdays’ game. Although he didn’t make much with the bat, he bowled well — including the last over of the match.

I do believe that Joginder Sharma and/or Praveen Kumar should play for India in ODIs soon. Just the presence of Irfan Pathan does so much for team balance. This balance will be augmented by the presence of another allrounder and I will continue to pay close attention to the progress of both these contenders.

All through these matches, Parthiv Patel has been thoroughly impressive. He has notched up several 100s and 50s and his ‘keeping has also been quite ‘tight’. Mohammed Kaif, who scored a smart 98 in yesterdays’ match continues to impress with his captaincy and may end up being the best U-19 and India-A captain that didn’t get an extended stint with the national team! Suresh Raina made his first appearance yesterday and scored a compact 45.

Amit Mishra, the young leg-spinner, has had a few good games too. After bowling with aplomb in the Test match, he also scored a breezy 22 off 11 balls in yesterdays’ ODI.

The one disappointment through this tour is that bowlers seem to have worked out Manoj Tiwary’s weakness against the short-rising-ball. He is getting peppered with the short stuff and the young dasher seems to be hell-bent on rewarding the bowlers’ efforts too!

— Mohan

How are the hopefuls going?

While all the action has been around India’s tour of England, India-A has been playing in Kenya and India U-19 has been playing in Sri Lanka.

In Kenya, Parthiv Patel is batting like a dream while Mohammed Kaif has been stuttering. Parthiv Patel has pushed himself up the order and is batting at #1 and even opened in one match raising the distinct possibility of India playing 3 ‘keepers in a game soon! After a rather insipid start, Irfan Pathan looks like he is coming good. He has been taking wickets in most matches. After strong initial contributions with the ball from Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ojha has stepped up to the plate as a convincing bowling left-arm-spin alternative for the future. One standout in the entire tour has been S. Badrinath. He has been making the runs steadily and he has been making them in quick time too! Of course, India has been winning everything on this tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya!

The real test will come when these lads travel to England, South Africa, West Indies and Australia. But it is certainly nice to follow the travails of the India-A team.

We have kept our eyes focussed on the U-19 tour of Sri Lanka too. There, one of the key interests was in the travels of Tanmay Srivastava and Abhinav Mukund. They both travelled well in the second match of the series, with Abhinav Mukund scoring a double century and a century in the same game!

— Mohan

Zimbabwe Select Vs India-A

India-A won the first match of its tour of Zimbabwe convincingly. Piyush Chawla was destroyer-in-chief, with 4 for 30, in Zimbabwe Select’s second innings. The 69 runs that were needed for victory were polished off by Irfan Pathan, the opener, who made 39 off 49 balls.

The second match of the series sees Zimbabwe Select staring down the barrel! Zimbabwe Select first allowed India-A to score 524 for 8 declared. Cheteshwar Pujara, the opener, Parthiv Patel and S. Badrinath made centuries. Irfan Pathan made a duck! In response, Zimbabwe Select are 67 for 5 with Piyush Chawla and Pragyan Ojha being the chief-wreckers.

I just don’t see the point of tours of Zimbabwe. Perhaps the next tour will be to France and then Holland and then USA, followed by a gruelling tour to Tahiti! Bah!

— Mohan