After crushing South Africa A team in the limited-overs sojourn now it is time for India A side to test out their character in the 4-day games. The two-match series will act as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Test saga between the two countries. Once again a pool of talented youngsters will be battling it out to catch the attention of their respective national selectors. As far as the playing field is concerned both the teams will be hosted by the Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram.
For the India A team, some of their players will be fresh from the euphoria of Duleep Trophy win. Before that, they strangled the Windies A side in their den so it can be said that they are hot favorites going into the series. They have a well-rounded team which makes them a tough side to beat and they also have an elusive track record at home. Still, they cannot consider their opponents as pushovers as it can cost them dearly.
On the contrary, it is a great opportunity for Proteas to forget the blues of their white-ball leg. They have the ammunition to challenge the home team. Especially the presence of international stars will boost the confidence of the team and it will serve them well under pressure situations. Moreover, it will also prepare the youngsters for their future assignments and who knows some of them might get a national call-up.
With all his talent Shubamn Gill will be plying his trade as opener alongside Ruturaj Gaikwad. A month ago he crunched a double century in the Caribbean land. Anmolpreet Singh, Vijay Shankar and Ankeet Bawne will form the rest of the batting core. KS Bharat is expected to take up the keeping duties.
Alongside Vijay Shankar, Shivam Dube is also the all-round option. Krishnappa Gowtham and Shahbaz Nadeem will be handling the spin department and they can also beef up the lower order batting. Gowtham, who is unwell, might be replaced by Jalaj Saxena. Tushar Deshpande is likely to get into the playing XI and he will be accompanied by Mohammed Siraj.
Shubman Gill (C), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Anmolpreet Singh/Ricky Bhui, Vijay Shankar, Ankeet Bawne, KS Bharat (WK), Shivam Dube, Jalaj Saxena/K Gowtham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammed Siraj, Tushar Deshpande.
South Africa A
While opening the innings skipper, Aiden Markram will be joining hands with Pieter Malan. Particularly the former will be looking to adjust to the slow surfaces of India before the real challenge starts in a month’s time. Edward Moore can be a good option in the top-order. Zubayr Hamza will be the safest bet in the middle-order and he will be sharing the duties with Heinrich Klaasen.
George Linde will get a nod as the all-round option. Dane Piedt and Senuran Muthusamy will be the frontline tweakers in the side. The former can be a lethal weapon on turning tracks. Lungi Ngidi will be leading the pace attack along with Marco Jansen and Wiaan Mulder.
Aiden Markram (C), Pieter Malan, Eddie Moore, Zubayr Hamza, Heinrich Klaasen (WK), George Linde, Wiaan Mulder, Senuran Muthusamy, Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Piedt.
The focus will be on
Shubman Gill (India A)
With the senior team struggling to find a stable opening pair the selectors will be keeping a close eye on the performances of Shubman Gill. Recently he scored a sparkling double century against West Indies A in the Caribbean islands. The youngster might get the chance in the upcoming Test series against South Africa if everything goes well in these two games.
Dane Piedt (South Africa A)
Indian cricketers are generally termed as good players of spin but sometimes they squander against quality spinners. Dane Piedt is one of them as he has all the attributes to succeed at the international level. With his simple action and variations, he can trouble the best of the batting groups. If the Proteas needs to win the series then the off-spinner will have to play a huge role.
Head to Head
Matches played – 12 | India A won – 5 | South Africa A won – 3 | Draw – 4
63 – Number of wickets taken by Mohammed Siraj in last 12 first-class games with an average of 19.06
21 – Number of 5-wicket hauls taken by Dane Piedt in his first-class career
TV – Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD
Live Streaming – Hotstar
Match Timings – 9:30 IST and 4:00 GMT
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