Home > Features >

India A in South Africa: Upcoming First-Class games of prime importance for the batting

India A in South Africa: Upcoming First-Class games of prime importance for the batting

Cheteshwar Pujara is the only player in the India A squad who has firmly established himself in the Test side and has been sent to get some valuable practice before the face-off against South Africa later this year © AFP

India A may have won the one-day tri-series in South Africa on the strength of their batting, but the performances in the First-Class games are of prime importance, says Nishad Pai Vaidya.
Shikhar Dhawan’s scintillating performances have helped India A clinch the tri-series in South Africa. It was a tournament that saw the Indian batsmen plunder runs and march towards victory against the representative sides from Australia and South Africa. While the team management would be assured by this performance, they would know that they have a tougher assignment on their hands. The First-Class matches against South Africa A commence on August 17 and in a way, it is a dress rehearsal to the big Test series against the mighty Proteas later this year.

Although India A have marched to victory in the tri-series, a very pertinent fact is that most of the batsmen in the playing eleven have been a part of the senior side in recent months. Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have opened the batting for India since the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina have also been fixtures in the side. Only Cheteshwar Pujara and Ambati Rayudu are yet to get an extended run in the senior one-day team. Thus, India A was relatively stronger when compared to the batting units of their opponents.

When the same unit moves into the First-Class games, the equations change. Firstly, Pujara is the only player who has firmly established himself in the Test side and has been sent to get some valuable practice before the face-off later this year. Dhawan’s amazing century on Test debut also assures him a spot at the top in the Test line-up along with Murali Vijay, who had a good time during the home series against Australia. For the others, it is a chance to prove themselves and push for a berth in the touring party. They may not get a game on the big tour, but may be in the fray for the later series. After all, Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement is around the corner and his exit would leave a hole at No 4. Even if Virat Kohli is promoted to that spot, No 5 would still be up for grabs.

Rohit, Raina, Rayudu and Ajinkya Rahane are the main contenders in the race. Rahane may have greater chances as India would need a back-up opener for that tour and he does bat at the top in domestic First-Class cricket. For Raina, it is an acid test in those conditions as he has to show that he has rectified his flaws against the short-stuff. On the other hand, Karthik and Wriddhiman Saha would compete for the second wicket-keeper’s slot.

While the selectors have done a sensible thing by sending the likes of Pujara and Dhawan alongside the fringe players, one doesn’t know how much it would benefit them. If they do well, it would be a confidence booster nonetheless. As Barry Richards, the South African legend pointed out in a conversation with H Natarajan, the Executive Editor of CricketCountry, the wickets during this time of the year are hard and very dry in South Africa. By the time India travels for the Test series, they may have to tackle greener surfaces and the formidable attack comprising Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn.

The attack India A would face does have some quality though. Kyle Abbot and Marchant de Lange have played Test cricket for South Africa and have shined on their respective debuts. They may be in the fray for their Test squad as back-ups for the famed pace trio. India A would have to survey them very well and chalk out strategies to tackle them.

In the one-day tri-series, India may have trumped South Africa A on both occasions, but now comes the business end. The squad has flown to South Africa for exposure in the longer version and the performances may have some implications for the make-up of India’s bench strength and the confidence of some others when they return to the Rainbow Nation for a more intense ball-game.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Sachin Tendulkar express shock on Phillip Hughes’ death

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) must be disqualified, says Supreme Court

Virat Kohli mourns Phil Hughes’ death

Phil Hughes passes away: Twitter reactions

Australia Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 Pakistan Phil Hughes Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Pakistan players not comfortable playing with Mohammad Aamer, says PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan

Phillip Hughes’ death: Delhi players demand better equipment in wake of tragedy

Phillip Hughes passes away: Cricket helmet pioneer Dennis Amiss hopes for better protection

Phillip Hughes would’ve wanted the 1st Test between India and Australia to happen, says Ian Chappell

Phil Hughes passes away: Sean Abbott gets global support

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy: When Will the Supreme Court make the whole Mudgal report public?

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Yo Yo Honey Singh goes into depression? His whereabouts unknown!

इबोला प्रायोगिक दवा के प्रयोग के नतीजे सकारात्मक आए

Shocking: Priyanka Chopra’s property a part of a sex racket?

Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Aamir Khan to share stage with Rajat Sharma to celebrate 21 years of Aap Ki Adaalat!

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Kanika Maheshwari aka Meenakshi of Diya Aur Baati Hum: Gautam needs to control his anger a little

सुपरमॉडल केट का क्रिसमस के लिए ब्यूटी टिप्स

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here