After the three-match unofficial Test series (four-day matches), India A and New Zealand A will fight for honours in a three-match one-day series starting at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday.
The host won the multi-day series 1-0 with a 113-run win in the final match in Bengaluru. The first match, in Bengaluru, was drawn while rain played spoilsport during the second match at Hubballi.
Like in four-day matches, India A will go into the series as firm favourite even though the visitor put up a decent show in the red-ball series.
For India A, Prithvi Shaw and Ruturaj Gaikwad provide a solid front at the top of the order, with the middle order set to be taken care of by skipper Sanju Samson, Rajat Patidar and Rahul Tripathi.
The squad also has the likes of Tilak Varma, who impressed for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and pacer Raj Angad Bawa, a star of the last under-19 World Cup, apart from experienced all-rounders like Shardhul Thakur and Rishi Dhawan.
Besides the challenge of going up against a strong Indian side, New Zealand has had only two days of practice to get used to conditions that are hotter than Bengaluru.
For the Kiwis, it is a chance to show what they can do here in sub-continent conditions with an eye to the 2023 World Cup here.
“The Indian team has changed across the formats. We have a whole new challenge with the white ball squad with a bit more experience coming in terms of players who have played for India. We are looking forward to testing our skills against (them). We are trying to make sure our skills are as good and sharp as possible to come out with a win,” said O’Donnell.