Ankit Bawne © IANS
Ankit Bawne will led India A © IANS

Dharamsala: The battle to remain relevant in India’s  limited overs scheme of things will be foremost on Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav’s minds when India A take on India B in the opening game of the Deodhar Trophy tomorrow. Having slipped in the pecking order as far as ODIs are concerned, both Umesh and Shami will like to use the opportunity to stake claim for the third and fourth pacers’ slot in the national team that is still up for grabs, keeping the World Cup in mind.

While Umesh was not in the ODI squad during the South Africa tour, the team management preferred Shardul Thakur to Shami during the last ODI. With Ravichandran Ashwin  ruling himself out of the tournament due to a niggle, India A, led by Maharashtra batsman Ankit Bawne, look like an intimidating outfit with all top domestic and junior cricket performers in their ranks.

The India A team has U-19 World Cup stars Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw in their ranks along with hard-hitting IPL specialists like Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav. Unmukt Chand, after a fine Vijay Hazare Trophy, is expected to open the batting with Prithvi. Even in the bowling department, the India A team has Shami along with Navdeep Saini and Basil Thampi. Shahbaz Nadeem will be the lone specialist spinner while Krunal Pandya will be their all-rounder.

Compared to that, India B only has Shreyas Iyer, who is eyeing a permanent ODI middle-order spot. Jayant Yadav, who has dealt with personal tragedy, injury and indifferent form, got a look-in purely on the basis of his past records having played both Tests and ODIs for India.

Maharashtra opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary and young opener Abhimanyu Easwaran along with Mumbai’s highest run-getter in Hazare — Siddhesh Lad — will be battling it out in the day/night encounter.

Umesh, Siddarth Kaul and Harshal Patel are the three pacers while Jayant will be supported in the spin department by Dharmendra Jadeja.

While India did not particularly have any happy memories of the ground after being bowled out for a little over 100 during an ODI against Sri Lanka last December, the Dharamsala track has been a batting belter this season.