Focus on performance as India, South Africa lock horns in 'A' series

The players from both India ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ teams will look to catch the attention of the national selectors when they lock horns in the first of the two unofficial Tests.

India 'A' coach Rahul Dravid during the team's training session in Bengaluru.   -  G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

The players from both India ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ teams will look to catch the attention of the national selectors when they lock horns in the first of the two unofficial Tests, which starts at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday.

For the home team, a good show in these matches could possibly put the players in reckoning for the last two Tests in England.

“We know that if we perform consistently on 'A' tours, we will get international call-ups. I myself have got call-ups from ‘A’ tours. It is just one step below the main team, so if you perform consistently, you will make the cut,” India ‘A’ skipper Shreyas Iyer said here on Friday.

The likes of Prithvi Shaw, R. Samarth and Mayank Agarwal will hope to continue their good form, in order to force their way into the spotlight. This series also serves as the ideal platform to get some runs and wickets under the belt ahead of the long domestic season.

The India ‘A’ bowling attack is led by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Chahal could do with the red-ball experience, if he is asked to join the Indian team in England. Pacer Mohammed Siraj, who picked up 15 wickets in two matches for India ‘A’ in its recent tour of England, is another impact player waiting in the wings.

The South Africa ‘A’ side, though short on big names, is not short on quality. Captain Khaya Zondo has featured in three ODIs, while all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius has earned 14 international caps. Shaun von Berg, a quality leg-spinner, was picked in the Test squad which toured Sri Lanka last month, but didn’t get a game.

"Our national selectors have an eye on a couple of our players. This is a great chance for guys to put their hands up for selection to the national team. There is a lot of white ball cricket coming up for the South African team, so there is plenty at stake," Zondo said.

After the two unofficial Tests, the two sides will be joined by Australia 'A' and India 'B' in a quadrangular one-day tournament, to be held at Vijayawada.

The squads:

India 'A':

Shreyas Iyer (capt), Prithvi Shaw, R. Samarth, Mayank Agarwal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Hanuma Vihari, Ankit Bawne, Kona Bharat, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jayant Yadav, Rajneesh Gurbani, Navdeep Saini, Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammed Siraj

South Africa 'A':

Khaya Zondo (capt), Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza, Sarel Enwee, Senuran Muthusamy, Dwaine Pretorius, Rudi Second, Rassine von der Dussen, Shaun von Berg, Heuran Hendricks, Duanne Olivier, Malusi Siboto, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Dane Piedt, Anrich Nortke.