Team India’s batting mainstay Virat Kohli will look to get some batting practice ahead of the ODI series against Australia while Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh will be aiming to get back into national selectors’ radar when Delhi meet India Blue in Challenger Series opener.
Kohli, who is expected to play a major part during India’s seven-match ODI series against Australia, will like to get into the groove after a six-week break from cricket.
The ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ hasn’t played any competitve cricket for six months since being dropped from the Indian squad. This will be the first serious tournament that he will be playing and obviously he would like to get some runs under his belt before he takes on West Indies A in the first-class matches next month.
Since being dropped, Sehwag had gone to the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai, where he practised on bouncy tracks against the academy bowlers and under the watchful eyes of chief coach Glenn McGrath.
Sehwag, who would be 35 in another four weeks time, knows that his fight to get into the Indian team starts from this tournament and if the returns are not favourable, it might not augur well for him as far as his future in international cricket is concerned.
For Yuvraj, the Challenger series will be an ideal platform to build on the good start that he has got in the limited overs series against West Indies A recently.
The scores of 123, 40, 61 and 52 in three List A and a Twenty20 game has provided Yuvraj with the momentum which he would like to keep up with.
For some of the others in both the squads, this will be an important match. Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, whose international career is as good as over, will like to keep the IPL franchises interested in him while young Unmukt Chand would like to use this opportunity to enhance his reputation as one whose performance should be closely monitored.
In the India Blue squad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar would like to shed off his rustiness after a break while R Vinay Kumar would also be eyeing for one of reserve pacer’s slot in the squad.