Ajinkya Rahane will get a chance to show his form with the bat in the second warm-up game against England. Back in action after being sidelined due to a finger injury, he is also captaining the India A squad. Runs amidst responsibility has been a feature of his performances across formats, so leadership is unlikely to distract his focus away from the task at hand.
He is the only player from the ODI team to be named for Thursday’s match at the Brabourne Stadium, where the visiting side chased down 304 with ease in the first game against a Dhoni-led India A side. Results matter little in tour games where the players are engaged in the process of tuning their skills in a competitive situation ahead of the ODIs.
Rahane is not the only factor England XI needs to deal with. India A features a bunch of players raring to have a go at the opposition. Suresh Raina and Rishabh Pant, selected for the T20 series later, have the ability to hit the ground running.
Rishabh, the young wicketkeeper-batsman, enjoyed a run feast in T20 games in the D. Y. Patil Cup (at the DYP Stadium), and following breathtaking performances in the Ranji Trophy, is a name England bowlers will do well to track. Raina is another destroyer in the line-up, eager to make the opportunity count and regain his place in the national squad since his last appearance in the 2015 home series against South Africa.
The Brabourne track played true in the first warm-up tie and the quality in the England batting line-up will stretch the India A bowling resources. The selectors chose a mix of pace and seam, with Vinay Kumar, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashoke Dinda and Vijay Shankar competing for slots. Off-spinner Parvez Rasool and left-arm spinner Shabaz Nadeem offer variety.
Playing well within themselves in the first tour game, the England batsmen paced the chase so well that a total of 350 may well be required to stretch the visiting side. A chase by India A should be a more exciting prospect in the day match, with Rahane or Raina staying till the end to guide fearless young strokemakers Deepak Hooda or Ishank Jaggi, providing the ideal script.
The teams (from):
India A: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Rishabh Pant, Suresh Raina, Deepak Hooda, Ishank Jaggi, Sheldon Jackson, Vijay Shankar, Shabaz Nadeem, Parvez Rasool, Vinay Kumar, Pradeep Sangwan and Ashoke Dinda.
England XI: Eoin Morgan (capt.), Alex Hales, Sam Billings, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (w.k.), Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jake Ball, David Willey and Chris Woakes.
Match starts at 10 a.m.
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