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India A have been the most successful team in the quadrangular series against Australia A, South Africa A, and Australia National Performance Squad (NPS). They have performed as a team, and have managed to find match-winning performances in every game. Shiamak Unwalla looks at the players to watch out for in the final match of their Australian sojourn.
Whenever an “India A” side tournament is announced, it immediately piques the interest of the followers of the game in India. Who wouldn’t be interested in following a team that might one day provide match-winning players? MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and others have come through from their respective “A” sides to play and win matches for the country.
So far in this series, the standout performers for India A have been Sanju Samson (239 runs at an average of 119.5), Manan Vohra (174 runs at 43.5), Ambati Rayudu (185 runs at 46.25), Kedar Jadhav (147 runs at 49), Dhawal Kulkarni (11 wickets in five games), and Akshar Patel (Eight wickets at an economy rate of under 5).
However, the side also has experienced players like Robin Uthappa, Manoj Tiwary and Manish Pandey as well, and while none of them has put in consistent performances, the threat of performing in a big match is always there. With the ball, Mohit Sharma, Rahul Shukla, and Parvez Rasool are very useful players to have in the side as well.
What has been heartening is that one of India’s brightest young talents, Sanju Samson, has performed in virtually every game. He has not rescued the side more than once, and has finished games consistently. Of all the young batsmen in India, he has seemed like one with a very balanced head on his shoulders, and that temperament is coming through in Australia when even some of the senior batsmen have faltered.
Another batsman who has done well is Manan Vohra, who was hugely impressive in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) seven, playing for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). While he has yet to put in a truly match-winning performance, his presence at the top makes India a threat to any side. With a little more consistency and application, Vohra can be one for the future — provided he shows the ability to play long and substantial innings.
Kedar Jadhav has long been one of the most consistent performers in the Ranji Trophy. The pocket-sized dynamite of a batsman is usually towered over by most other batsman; but it is Jadhav who soars past his peers on the sheer weight of runs he scores. It is reassuring that one of the Ranji Trophy’s top performers has done well in foreign conditions. Ambati Rayudu is another case of domestic hard work paying off.
India A are in the final, and will take on Australia A. If the young performers manage to continue their good show, and if the experienced players can put their hands up and fulfill their promising talent, India A could well claim victory on their Australian counterparts. With the World Cup scheduled to be held in Australia and New Zealand, one of these players — if not more — could well find themselves in the coveted squad.
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)
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