Confident India A eyes domination in first unofficial Test

India A would look to continue its domination as it takes on England Lions in the first unofficial Test in Wayanad.

Rahul Dravid leading the training session of India A ahead of the unofficial Test against England Lions.   -  RANJITH PERALAM

On the drive up the hill to Krishnagiri, along the nine hairpin turns, one is bound to be greeted by greenery.

But the pitch stands a contrast to the surrounding of the Wayanad Cricket Stadium, which hosts the first unofficial Test between India A and England Lions starting on Thursday. The match is expected to last longer than the Ranji Trophy knock-out games, played last month.

Kerala had defeated Gujarat inside three days in the quarterfinal before crashing to an innings defeat within two days in the semifinal against Vidarbha.

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The wicket would certainly be in focus over the next four days along with the players – on either side - itching to stake a claim for maiden call-up, or return, to the national squad.

Among the Indians, few players will have the spotlight on them and K.L. Rahul, the dashing opener would be one of them. After playing in three one-day matches against the Lions at Thiruvananthapuram, this is another opportunity for him to get back to form and more importantly move on from the chat show controversy.

The other batsmen in the squad - Priyank Panchal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Ricky Bhui and Siddhesh Lad would also be keen to turn up with a good show. In bowling, the host has plenty of options in seamers Varun Aaron, Avesh Khan, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini. Shahbaz Nadeem, Mayank Markande and Jalaj Saxena to fill in as spinners.

The Lions got the right combination to spring back after the 4-1 thrashing in the one-day series. It has fine batsmen in Sam Billings, Ollie Pop, Ben Duckett and Alex Davies. The bowling looks formidable with the likes of pacers Jamie Overton, Zak Chappell and Jamie Porter. In the spin department, the visitor has Dominic Bess and Danny Briggs.

Moreover, it will be an interesting match for the local fans, who get a taste of top-level cricket nearly after four years.

Squad (from):

India A: Ankit Bawne (capt), K.L. Rahul, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Priyank Panchal, Ricky Bhui, Siddhesh Lad, K.S. Bharat, Jalaj Saxena, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mayank Markande, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Avesh Khan, Varun Aaron

England Lions: Sam Billings (capt), Dominic Bess, Zak Chappell, Danny Briggs, Ben Duckett, Lewis Gregory, Sam Hain, Max Holden, Jamie Overton, Ollie Pope, James Porter, Tom Bailey, Will Jacks, Steven Mullaney, Matthew Carter, Alex Davies.