New Zealand A vs India A, 1st Unofficial Test, Preview: Crucial game for the visitors ahead of Australia tour

New Zealand A vs India A, 1st Unofficial Test, Preview: Crucial game for the visitors ahead of Australia tour

As many as five players of the Indian Test team will be playing this match in a bid to get hold of the conditions down under.

India A
India A. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Many would be wondering the amount of importance this match is being given. India A and New Zealand A will lock horns in the first of the three-match unofficial Test series at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui from Friday. Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the visiting side as the Indian selectors have picked a few Test specialists for this game and are looking at it as the preparation for the stern Australia tour.

More or less, the conditions will be the same across the Trans Tasman as the contest between India and Australia down under will commence on December 6. As many as five players from the Indian Test team will be looking to get hold of the conditions under Rahul Dravid‘s watchful eyes. The famous Wall of the team during his playing days, Dravid, will guide these batsmen and it will be interesting to see if they will be able to reap rich rewards.

The hosts, on the other hand, also have a great opportunity to shine against some of the best at the highest level. This is a rare chance for them to showcase their skills against the top Indian players and no wonder, the likes of Rachin Ravindra, George Worker, Seth Rance and Doug Bracewell among others will be eyeing a Test call-up to the national side.

Team Combinations

New Zealand A

Glenn Phillips and the 18-year-old Rachin Ravindra will open the innings for the hosts while George Worker, another potential opener will bat at number three. New Zealand A have some exciting names in the middle-order whle Doug Bracewell is back in the contention thanks to his impressive show in the domestic circuit. Seth Rance recently played against Pakistan in the T20I series and will be looking to hurry the Indians with sheer pace.

Probable XI: Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, George Worker, Will Young, Tim Seifert, Dane Cleaver, Logan van Beek, Doug Bracewell, Kyle Jamieson, Seth Rance, Scott Kuggeleijn.

India A

Two separate squads have been named by the selectors for this series. The first match will see Ajinkya Rahane leading the tourists even as Prithvi Shaw and Murali Vijay are expected to open the innings. Mayank Agarwal will bat first drop while the skipper Rahane will make his presence felt at four. Hanuma Vihari, who made his international debut in England, should be keen to prove his mettle in the middle-order.

Parthiv Patel will be honing his wicketkeeping skills and Vijay Shankar is the lone all-rounder in the squad. Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini and Rajneesh Gurbani are expected to take care of the pace bowling unit and Shahbaz Nadeem might pip Krishnappa Gowtham in the only spinner’s slot available in the playing XI.

Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, Murali Vijay, Mayank Agarwal, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Hanuma Vihari, Parthiv Patel (wk), Krishnappa Gowtham/ Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Rajneesh Gurbani.

Focus will be on

Rachin Ravindra (New Zealand A)

Rachin Ravindra is being tipped to be the next big thing in the country. He played in the A side during New Zealand’s shadow tour to the UAE and scored 173 runs across four innings at an average of 57.67 with a couple of half-centuries batting at number four. He is likely to open this time around and will be tested with the new ball. If he continues to play well in this series, chances are high of him being included in the national side in the longest format soon.

Prithvi Shaw (India A)

Undoubtedly, this 18-year-old prodigy will under the focus. While Shaw has proved that he is an extraordinary talent, his technique against the moving ball will be tested in these conditions and his inclusion in the playing XI in the Adelaide Test after three weeks will depend on how he fares at the Bay Oval.

Stat Attack

40 – Mohammed Siraj has claimed 40 wickets only in five first-class matches while playing for India A in 2018.

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