Youngsters shine as India A execute complete dominance over ECB XI
India A has made the right start ahead of their upcoming tri-series against the England Lions and Windies A, with the help of a very authoritative win over the ECB XI in what was their first game of the tour, albeit it is a practice game.
The India A team, which boasts of some consistent performers and coached by the great Rahul Dravid himself, had been due to play Yorkshire CC in actual, but on account of the latter's progress in the parallelly-conducted Royal London One-Day Cup, the England Cricket Board (ECB) put together an alternate XI which then played India A.
The team - comprising Shreyas Iyer, Vijay Shankar, and Axar Patel who have senior international experience and plenty of others like Ishan Kishan, Deepak Chahar, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, and Krunal Pandya who have made an impact in the IPL - quickly adapted to English conditions to post an impressive total of 328 for 8 and coming back to dismiss their opponents for 203, winning the game by a substantial margin of 125 runs.
Prithvi Shaw, who captained India to victory in the ICC Under-19s World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year, set the initial tone with a solid innings of 70 from 61 balls including seven fours and three sixes. He was followed by Ishan and Shreyas, as the duo added half-centuries each at strike rates of over 100. The latter, who has 12 international limited-over appearances for the senior national team, is also the tour captain.
Despite progressing well, the India-A scoring was hampered on some occasions with the ECB XI controlling the run-rates for certain periods. Middlesex all-rounder Ryan Higgins was the pick of the attack, scalping 4 wickets for 50 runs from his 10 overs, including the prized wicket of both Ishan and Shreyas. Late exploits from Krunal Pandya propelled the scoreboard further, with Chahar and Patel delivering in the final few balls to help India-A finish at 328.
In return, the Indians impressed with the ball as well, seamers in particular. They looked as if they were relishing the gloomy overcast conditions that prevailed in general over Headingley, where the match was conducted. CSK mainstay Deepak Chahar picked 3/48 in 7.5 overs whereas Axar Patel picked up 2/21 in five. Vijay Shankar and Krunal Pandya bowled economically, each taking one wicket apiece, as eleven overs between the two went for just 39 runs.
As for the ECB XI, Matthew Critchley(40 runs) top-scored with the bat, while Ben Slater fell for 37 runs. As none of the others failed to convert their good starts, the team were bundled out for 203 in 36.5 overs, 126 runs short of the target.
India A is scheduled to play the tri-series in England prior to the senior team's appearance in the visiting nation. The series composes seven matches, with two round-robin rounds among the three teams (Windies A is the third team as mentioned above) and then a final between the top-two finishers. India A are regarded as strong favourites to return home with the honours.
The squad named for India A is as follows: Shreyas Iyer(captain), Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, GH Vihari, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar, Krishnappa Gowtham, Axar Patel, Krunal Pandya, Prasidh Krishna, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur.
Shubman, Rishabh, Gowtham, Shardul and Hooda were the noted absentees from yesterday's game against ECB XI. They are expected to be given a run in the next practice match to be held on June 19.
Meanwhile, the Windies A had a disappointing start, with Warwickshire giving them a humbling lesson in yet another practice match that was played yesterday. Chasing Warwickshire's 385, the Windies were bowled out for 254, giving the hosts a 131-run victory.
India A will next play Leicestershire on Tuesday, June 19 starting 3:30pm IST, in their next practice match. The tri-series as such, begins on 22nd June, with the England Lions facing India A. After all three teams face each other twice in a round-robin format and the top two teams will face each other in the final, which is scheduled to be held on July 2nd.