Bangalore: Sep 14, 2013
Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh would be the cynosure of all eyes when he captains India A, a team on a roll after the cleansweep against New Zealand A, in a three-match series against the West Indies A starting on Sunday.
The glory of thrashing New Zealand A 3-0 was achieved under the captaincy of Unmukt Chand, who perfectly marshalled his team to victory.
All eyes, however, will be trained on how Yuvraj, who has been out of favour in the recent times, handles the team as a captain against the West Indians. The left-hander, who battled and won over cancer, would be aiming to get back into the reckoning.
Yuvraj is more often seen as a brutal force in limited overs cricket than in Tests with his ability to hit the ball clean and long.
Yuvraj aside, India A has its share of stars. Unmukt has scored 164 runs at an average of 48 with 94 being his highest in the three ODIs against New Zealand A, while Robin Uthappa has also scored a century in the lung-opener.
The Under-19 World Cup-winning captain would look for another good show from his bat to help his team get a good start.
Uthappa, who is in ODI exile, would be hoping to produce another sparkling show after the opening ODI ton to catch the eyes of national selectors given that a limited overs series against West Indies and South Africa is in sight.
Yuvraj will be hoping for Uthappa and Chand to dazzle in the opening ODI to give a boost to the middle-order, which came good in the last two ODIs against New Zealand A with the likes of Kedar Jadhav and Mandeep Singh rising to the occasion.
Jadhav has delivered consistently, making unbeaten 30, 37 and 57, respectively in the last series. The Maharashtra batsman will be hoping to get a chance to go up the order to showcase his talent.
Yusuf Pathan, who has been provided another lifeline by selectors, will hope to recover from his steep fall since the 2011 World Cup. He is a powerful and aggressive right-handed batsman and a right-arm off-break bowler.
In Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar’s absence, both of whom were ruled out due to injuries, R Vinay Kumar will lead India A’s bowling attack. Vinay Kumar and Siddharth Kaul have been drafted into the India A team in place of Praveen and Irfan. Irfan was earlier ruled out of the team for the tri-series in the Caribbean due to a hamstring injury.
Jaydev Unadkat, who did well during India’s tour of Zimbabwe, will aim to continue using this series to put out his best and make a strong case for himself in the senior team. He has the fire in his belly and an uncanny knack to up the ante with his deceptive pace.
The West Indies A, on the other hand, who performed well during their home series against Sri Lanka A in June, will aim for improvement, starting with the first ODI.
A number of young West Indian players will try to grab the opportunity to show their skills, especially with the senior team set to tour India next month.
Kieran Powell, one of the players looking to formalise his place in the senior side, has been handed the reins of captaincy and head coach Junior Bennett has high hopes from the left-handed opener from Nevis.
Besides Powell, the side for the three 50-over contests and the one Twenty20 game includes the likes of vice-captain Veerasammy Permaul, Andre Russell, Andre Fletcher, Devon Thomas, Kirk Edwards, Nikita Miller and Narsingh Deonarine, all of whom have featured in the senior team.
Meanwhile, in a press release, the KSCA announced that entry for the public would be free for the entire tour, including the four-day games in Mysore, Shimoga and Hubli that follow the limited-over series in Bangalore.
India A: Yuvraj Singh (c), Unmukt Chand, Robin Uthappa, Baba Aparajith, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Naman Ojha (wk), Yusuf Pathan, R Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Siddharth Kaul, Sumit Narwal, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mandeep Singh, Rahul Sharma.
West Indies A: Kieran Powell (c), Veerasammy Permaul, Ronsford Beaton, Nkrumah Bonner, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell (wk), Miguel Cummins, Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Andre Fletcher (wk), Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Andre Russell, and Devon Thomas.