Home > Features >

Manprit Juneja, Vijay Zol and Abhishek Nayar shine for India A in unofficial Tests against New Zealand A

Manprit Juneja, Vijay Zol and Abhishek Nayar shine for India A in the unofficial Tests against New Zealand A

Abhishek Nayar led the India A side against New Zealand A. He scored a century and a half-century in the two unofficial Test matches © PTI

India A finished a largely rain-affected series against New Zealand A, but some of the batsmen made use of the opportunity and showcased their potential. Nishad Pai Vaidya reviews India A’s performance against New Zealand A.
Building a strong bench strength is imperative for any international side. For starters, the strength of the side is gauged by the record of their back-ups. Although, the primary national squad may have settled spots, the quality back-ups can push some of the main players for their places, thus answering the call even on the war-footing and seamlessly fitting into the mould. In that regard, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have handled the India A side well by handing opportunities to the most promising and proven domestic performers. A more senior India A side — full of contenders for the Test side — travelled to South Africa. A day after they completed their sojourn, Abhishek Nayar led another A team against New Zealand A at Visakhapatnam.

Although, the two games between India A and New Zealand A ended in draws, there were quite a few positives the hosts would take. The batting in particular saw numerous success stories. Manprit Juneja, the Gujarat batsman, made a big impression with an innings of 193 in the second unofficial Test. The 22-year-old played for the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year and showed a sound technique and a balanced approach. He has a penchant for big scores and would be on the Indian selectors’ watch. On his First-Class debut in 2011, he announced himself with a double ton and has maintained an average of 79.75 from 12 matches.

Nayar, being the senior batsman in the side, also delivered in both games. Coming off a stellar domestic season, Nayar was given the responsibility of leading this side and he responded with a quick-fire innings of 101 in the first unofficial Test. In the second game, he scored 57 off only 55 balls and continued to maintain a good strike-rate. He has been very consistent for the champion Mumbai side, but hasn’t been able to break through to a higher level although he has had four One-Day International (ODI) caps to his name. So far, Nayar has scored no runs for India although he has bowled a few overs. He has had a forgettable IPL.

The third batsman who shined was Vijay Zol. The left-hander has been part of the India Under-19 setup since 2012 and was in the squad when they lifted World Cup that year. His temperament has been sound and the southpaw has shown the ability to score big at an early age. The first unofficial Test was actually his First-Class debut and he marked that occasion with an innings of 110. With Vinod Kambli-like idiosyncrasies, this Under-19 captain India captain is expected to carry his good form throughout the season. However, his predecessor, Unmukt Chand, struggled and could only score eight runs in two innings. VA Jagadeesh, the Kerala opener also shone in his only innings with a score of 91 in the second unofficial Test.

The bowlers did not have a lot to do and Jalaj Saxena was the only one who made a mark during the series. In the first game, he picked up six wickets in his only innings, whereas the honours were shared in the second match. Saxena has been in India A’s scheme-of-things for some time and is seen as a potential all-rounder.

This was a more junior side, but one can see that it has many potential India players. Nayar can use this performance to move to a higher level and deserves more chances to stake his claim in the Indian squad. For the likes of Zol and Juneja, it is a chance for them to gain confidence and build their reputation. On a whole, one may say these were just try-outs, important nevertheless. The one-day series is coming up and it features quite a few slam-bang and flamboyant players. That too should be a series to watch out for.

(NishadPaiVaidya 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

Moeen Ali becomes third fastest centurion for England in ODIs

Ishant Sharma — Is his current ODI form good enough to earn him a place in ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The birth of Day Night cricket matches

Phillip Hughes head injury: Are helmets making batsmen complacent?

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

Live Scorecard: Pakistan vs New Zealand, 3rd Test at Sharjah, Day 2

Phil Hughes passes away: Twitter reactions

Phil Hughes passes away

Live Streaming: Pakistan vs New Zealand, 3rd Test at Sharjah, Day 2

Phil Hughes head injury: Skull fracture reported

Moeen Ali becomes third fastest centurion for England in ODIs

Ishant Sharma — Is his current ODI form good enough to earn him a place in ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The birth of Day Night cricket matches

Phillip Hughes head injury: Are helmets making batsmen complacent?

Daniel Vettori becomes the most capped New Zealand player

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

Emraan Hashmi: In Bollywood everybody does Ungli!

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

Xiaomi Redmi Note registration open; priority access for #FlipkartFirst customers!

Week by Week Pregnancy Guide – Week 28 of your pregnancy

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

Phillip Hughes dies in hospital after suffering a blow in the head

विपाशा बासु: पिनकेथॉन महिलाओं को जागरूक करने का महत्वपूर्ण प्लैटफॉर्म

Daddy Anil Kapoor to take Sonam Kapoor on a French holiday!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here