Focus on youngsters as India ‘A’ takes on South Africa ‘A’ in unofficial Tests

The highly-rated Gill will lead the team in the first of the two four-day matches, with ‘keeper Wriddhiman Saha captaining in the second.

The in-form Shubman Gill will renew his quest for selection into the senior team when India ‘A’ takes on South Africa ‘A’ in the first unofficial Test beginning from Monday.   -  FILE PHOTO/ N. SUDARSHAN

India-A will look to continue its domination when the first four-day ‘Test’ against South Africa-A begins at the Sports Hub here on Monday.

The rain-curtailed ODI series was one-sided with India-A showcasing its depth and skill to blow away the visitor. A fact which was admitted by losing captain Temba Bavuma who said his team struggled to meet the demands of the shorter version.

New skipper

However, Bavuma is not part of the ‘Test’ squad which will be led by Aiden Markram. The South Africa-A skipper has spent some time getting acclimatised.

After attending a spin camp in Bengaluru, Markram will be better prepared to neutralise the threat from Shahbaz Nadeem and K. Gowtham.

Apart from Markram, the squad comprises five others — Theunis de Bruyn, Lungi Ngidi, Senuran Muthuswamy, Dane Piedt and Heinrich Klaasen — who are part of the senior Test squad.

The two four-day matches will also be an opportunity for them to get game time before the start of the Test series against India.

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Despite the tame (4-1) loss in the one-dayers, the Proteas are capable of bouncing back.

A few of the players from India-A squad like wicketkeeper K. S. Bharat, Shubman Gill, Shivam Dube and Vijay Shankar will be in focus during the series.

Vijay Shankar, who is making a comeback after injuring himself during the World Cup, will be keen to prove his fitness.

The trio of medium-pacers Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and Tushar Deshpande will provide different challenges to the visiting batsmen.

The pitches for the one-dayers produced runs though it was two-paced at times. The South Africans weren't at home on those tracks and the four-day match will be another test of their skills and temperament.

With rain giving way to bright sunshine over the last three days, it could well turn out to be an interesting match.

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Saxena added to squad, Gowtham currently being monitored

Jalaj Saxena has been added to the squad as cover for K. Gowtham, who is unwell and being monitored by the BCCI medical team.

Teams:

India A: Shubman Gill (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Anmolpreet Singh, Ricky Bhui, Ankeet Bawne, KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), K Gowtham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Vijay Shankar.

South Africa A: Aiden Markram (captain), Theunis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Lungi Ngidi, George Linde, Pieter Malan, Eddie Moore, Senuran Muthusamy, Marco Jansen, Dane Piedt, Wiaan Mulder, Heinrich Klaasen, Lutho Sipamla, Khaya Zondo.