Manoj Tiwary © IANS
Manoj Tiwary will lead the India A side against the West Indies in the warm up match in Mumbai © IANS

With the crux of India’s One-Day International (ODI) squad in place, India A players look to grab the few vacant gaps in the main team. Abhijit Banare looks at the likely candidates to be picked for the main squad.

India A players look to put up a strong impression on selectors as the team takes on West Indies in the first of the two warm-up matches in Mumbai on Friday. The selectors will meet tomorrow to decide the One-Day International (ODI) squad for the five-match series against West Indies starting October 8. There are a handful of players in this A squad who will be certain to feature.

Nine out of the 14 players in this squad have either played for India or have made it to the squad on the past.  Most of them know that they are just a few good games away from a national call-up. Here’s an analysis of the situation:

Squad: Manoj Tiwary (c), Sanju Samson (wk), Murali Vijay, Karun Nair, Kedar Jadhav, Unmukt Chand, Parvez Rasool, Stuart Binny, Dhawal Kulkarni, Gurkeerat Singh, Rahul Shukla, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Karn Sharma.

Certainties: Murali Vijay is sure to feature in the Indian team as it’s confirmed that Rohit Sharma will continue to remain on the sidelines due to the injury he picked up during the England tour. Though Vijay wasn’t picked in the XI, staying in the limited overs squad gives him a possible chance of resurrecting his ODI career ahead of the ICC World Cup 2015.

Sanju Samson: The young wicketkeeper batsman is slowly emerging as the second wicketkeeper for India’s limited overs side. His selection to the England tour suggests that the selectors are keen to have him as the second keeper to MS Dhoni with an eye on the World Cup.

Stuart Binny: On Indian wickets a medium-pace all-rounder isn’t an extreme necessity but due to lack of such a player, Binny could still find his place in the squad. He is also a good batsman down the order. If not this series, Binny would surely be a key player in the overseas trips later this year.

Considering the slow wickets in India, Karn Sharma could be included as the back-up spinner.

Doubtful: Amit Mishra suddenly finds himself out of favour. He has been unfortunate to be out due to some tough outings. But a good performance in the two matches could influence the selectors in having him over the young Karn Sharma. Mishra ultimately has the experience which Karn lacks. Meanwhile, Parvez Rasool too would need some miracle to stay in the side given that a smaller squad will travel for a home series and there are enough options available for the selctors.

India’s pace dilemma: Barring Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, there are a few slots up for grabs. In this India A team, Dhawal Kulkarni has a good chance of making it to the Indian team. He wasn’t very impressive either but lack of reliable resources and a good performance in the two matches should see Dhawal through. Moreover, the pitch at Wankhede, the venue for the second practice match is known to assist spinners. Dhawal being the local boy can exploit it to great extent.

Surprise probabilities: Going by the performance of the team in England Kedar Jadhav would struggle to find a place in this side. The only big surprise could be the captain of the team. Manoj Tiwary and his tryst with injuries has let his India chance slip away a few times. Tiwary’s good performance could see him squeezed somewhere in the middle of an already-packed Indian batting. For players like Karun Nair, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Shukla and Gurkeerat Singh this is a good exposure.

Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja almost complete the Indian batting line-up. So the batsmen in the A squad will have to surely make the two matches count big time to force the selectors into picking them.

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on @AbhijitVirgo)