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India gear up to play warm-up match against Board President's XI

The spotlight is on Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammed Shami

Anil Kumble’s first match in charge will be against WICB President’s XI

The spotlight is on Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammed Shami as Team India prepare for their first match of the 49-day Caribbean tour with a two-day match against WICB President’s XI at St Kitts and Nevis on Saturday. While Dhawan’s place in the XI has been under threat for a while, there is as issue with Shami’s match fitness.

While Murali Vijay’s spot as one of the openers is cemented, it is still up for contention who his partner shall be. It is possible, but unlikely, that Dhawan will be benched for Anil Kumble’s first match in charge of the team, to be replaced by KL Rahul. 

Captain Virat Kohli has said this week that Shami fits his notion of a perfect Test bowler, but the issue with his selection is that he has not played an international match since March 2015. Whether he shall be straightaway picked in the starting lineup remains to be seen.

He had enjoyed a modest return to form at IPL 2016. He had been on song with a 5/42 in the first pink ball longer format match in the country for Mohun Bagan, but had to go off the field complaining of dizziness in that match too. It shall be examined on his second and third spells whether he can live up to Kohli’s billing of him as being able to bowl for “the ideal Test match length”.

In the unofficial two-day match which starts on Saturday between India and WICB President’s XI, both teams will get to bat a day each with all team members being allowed to play. Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur will be the other pacers who will be bowling on one of the next two days. 

According to norms, its is expected that all the batsmen in the side will get to face around 75-80 balls, provided they do not lose their wicket before that. The Board President XI has six current Test players including skipper Leon Johnson, Jermaine Blackwood, Rajendra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shai Hope and Jomel Warrican.

The Indian team have been getting into the groove for the series with yoga sessions and volleyball, apart from indoor sessions and net practice. The tour in proper will be flagged off when the first ball is delivered on 1930 (IST).

Team India – Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Cheteshwar Pujara, Lokesh Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav

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