What’s the story?
Fast bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been selected to captain the India A team against the visiting Australian side, when they tour India next month. He will be skipper of the 15-man squad that will play the three-day game against the Aussies at the CCI in Mumbai from February 16-18 as a precursor to the four-Test series.
In case you didn’t know…
Pandya, who made his International debut early last year, has quickly risen up the ranks and is now part the plans in all three formats for India. The 23-year old hard hitting all-rounder was earlier named in the squad for India’s one-off Test against Bangladesh that begins on February 9.
Pandya is also part of the India A squad that will face the Bangladeshis before the Test match. The team against Bangladesh is set to be led by Abhinav Mukund, who also made a comeback to the Test squad after a gap of six years.
The heart of the matter
With Mukund selected for the Bangladesh Test, he has been replaced in the A squad by Akhil Herwadkar, while Ankit Bawne makes his way in place of Ishank Jaggi. Ishan Kishan, India’s captain for the U-19 World Cup last year, will don the wicketkeeping gloves, while Rishabh Pant, the hard-hitting batsman from Delhi, is also a keeping option.
Kuldeep Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem make the bulk of the spin attack, with Karnataka spinner K Gowtham being the third spinner, in place of Jayant Yadav, who retained his place in the Indian team. The pace attack is a departure from the one to face Bangladesh, with Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini and Ashok Dinda forming the triumvirate of fast bowling.
India A: Hardik Pandya (C), Akhil Herwadkar, Priyank Kirit Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Ankit Bawne, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan (WK), Shahbaz Nadeem, Krishnappa Gowtham, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Ashok Dinda, Mohammed Siraj, Rahul Singh, Baba Indrajith.
The India-A side will first play a practice match against tourists Bangladesh, and follow it up with a three-day fixture against the touring Aussie side.
The match against Bangladesh is a two-day contest, scheduled to be held in Hyderabad on the fifth and sixth of February.
The chopping and changing of the side is a clear indication that the selectors are keen on trying as many players as possible. Hardik Pandya, although still a rookie in International cricket, has been going up the rungs quickly. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to the challenge of leading the junior side against a stocked up international side.