India, Bangladesh aspirants aim to profit from ‘A’ team outing

India A and Bangladesh A clash in the only 'unofficial' Test between the two sides, in Bangalore. While the Indian side will have a number opf hopeful players keen to make a statement to stake a claim for the Test squad for South Africa, Bangladesh will want to clean the house before Australians visit their home.

Shikhar Dhawan will be keen to prove he is fully fit, after an injury on his hand in the Test series against Sri Lanka   -  The Hindu

Ravi Shastri is keen to use the services of team coach Rahul Dravid to spot potential world-beaters   -  PTI

Naman Ojha, for long a wicketkeeper-batsman at the fringes of selection, played his first Test in Sri Lanka last month   -  The Hindu

Members of the India A team will eye the upcoming fixture against Bangladesh A as an occasion that, if used well, could propel them into consideration for the Test squad to face South Africa, which has not yet been announced. Especially for captain Shikhar Dhawan, Karun Nair, Naman Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja, it is a platform to make a statement.

Dhawan, named in the ODI and Twenty20 squads, returns to action after injuring his hand in the first Test against Sri Lanka earlier this year. Ojha's stint in Sri Lanka was equally brief, making his debut in the third and final Test, after regular wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha returned home due to a hamstring pull. Nair was called up for the same game, but did not make the eleven. Having competed in recent international cricket, the trio will be desperate to return to elite action.

For Jadeja, the encounter could be the first step towards regaining an India spot. The 26-year-old was dropped for the Zimbabwe ODI and Twenty20 series in July this year, and did not figure in the plans for the Sri Lanka tour either. A lifeline has been handed to the man who was, not too long ago, regarded as the nation's best all-rounder.

The significance of an outing such as this was explained by senior India Team Director Ravi Shastri, at a media interaction here on Friday. Shastri is thrilled that the 'A' system has consistently produced highly skilled cricketers, and is keen to use the services of team coach Rahul Dravid to spot potential world-beaters. “The fact is that with the amount of cricket that Dravid has played, he can understand very quickly which bloke can bridge the gap between the 'A' level and international cricket,” he said.

The Bangladesh 'A' side, meanwhile, is also filled with players with big aspirations. The Australians are set to visit next month, and this match presents the final opportunity to set the house in order. The batsmen did not display enough patience in the side's four-wicket defeat to Karnataka a few days ago, and captain Mominul Haque expects better from his players. “India 'A' is a good side. It will be a tough match for us. Our top-order batsmen need to stay and the wicket and overcome the temptation to play loose shots. If you are a quality cricketer, you should be able to play one-day and first-class cricket equally well,” Mominul said.

The squads (from):

India 'A': Shikhar Dhawan (capt.), Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer, Baba Aparajith, Naman Ojha, Jayant Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Ravindra Jadeja, Shreyas Gopal, Abhimanyu Mithun, Varun Aaron, Ishwar Pandey, and Sheldon Jackson.

Bangladesh 'A': Mominul Haque (Captain), Anamul Haque, Rony Talukdar, Liton Das, Shabbir Rahaman, Soumya Sarkar, Nasir Hossain, Saqlain Sajib, Arafat Sunny, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Shuvagata Hom, and Jubair Hossain.