India ‘A’ Tour of South Africa: Some Seniors May Play In One First-class Game

Some of the senior team Test specialists might be sent early to South Africa to take part in India ‘A’ side’s three-match ‘shadow tour’ of the country, which will be a pre-cursor to the all-important two-match Test series, starting on December 26. The BCCI has always arranged ‘A’ team tours to countries where the senior team is supposed to travel for Test matches but after last year’s Bangladesh series, the pathways cricket (A team tours, U-19 series) didn’t happen as the sole focus was on the ODI World Cup.

However, the domestic performers will have a chance to showcase their skills as there will be as many as five or six ‘A’ games in first-class format between December and January.

There will be three ‘Tests’ (four-day games) against South Africa ‘A’ set to happen next month and another two to three against England Lions (England ‘A’) in January before India’s five-match mega series against the senior English side.

“Yes, there are three four-day Tests between India ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ next month. The team for that will be announced in some days. Most of the consistent young performers along with those (seniors) who need some game time before the two Test matches in Centurion (December 26 to 30) and Cape Town (January 3-7) will be there,” a BCCI source told PTI on condition of anonymity.

While the likes of Abhimanyu Easwaran, B Sai Sudharsan, Yash Dhull, Kona Bharat, Upendra Yadav and Saurabh Kumar are certainly going to be in the scheme of things, it would be interesting to see if seniors like Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jaydev Unadkat get to play at least one four-day game as a tune-up to the African challenge.

Test discard Jayant Yadav and Services off-spinner Pulkit Narang, the two red-ball off-spinners, who are often summoned at India nets during Test series, could also be discussed.

Among the young pacers, Vidwath Kaverappa, Kuldeep Sen, Harshit Rana and Umran Malik could well be in the mix with old guards like Navdeep Saini.

Mayank Agarwal was Ranji Trophy’s highest scorer last season but with Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jasiwal, Shubman Gill in the scheme of things, whether the Karnataka veteran will get a recall is there to be seen.

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