Karun Nair & Co. set to provide tough challenge to Kiwi visitors in ‘A’ team series

India A and New Zealand A will play the first of two four-day ‘Tests’ at the Mulapadu Cricket Complex.

A view of ACA cricket ground at Mulapadu, the venue of the first ‘Test’.   -  V. Raju

Players at the fringes of the national team will hope to utilise a big platform to stake their claim as the first of the two four-day ‘Tests’ between India A and New Zealand A begins at the picturesque Mulapadu Cricket Complex near Vijayawada here from Saturday.

The two teams could not have asked for a better setting than the lush green ground. The pitch, too, is expected to be on the sporting side.

Karun Nair, the India A captain, said every member of his team was aware of the huge opportunity and keen to come up with a special performance. "We have the right balance and the skills to do well in these two 'Tests'," he added.

‘Great experience’

New Zealand A captain Henry Nicholls was wary of the spin threat in Indian conditions. "It should be a great experience for most of us. We are ready for the challenges. The conditions will be tough for sure," he said.

The Kiwi support staff has two of its most prominent cricketers – Shane Bond and Gavin Larsen – who are not short on experience and knowledge of Indian conditions. "Yes, I think I should be able to chip in a little about the conditions here," Bond said with a big smile even while stressing that adaptability is the key to success here.

Teams (from):

India A: Karun Nair (c), Sudeep Chatarjee, Priyank Panchal, Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammad Siraj, Hanuma Vihari, Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Shahbaz Nadeem, K. Gowtham, R. Samarth, Ankit Bawne, Rishabh Pant and Navadeep Saini.

New Zealand A: Henry Nicholls (c), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell (wk), Tom Bruce, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Sean Solia, George Worker, Will Young, Glenn Philips and Jeet Raval.

Umpires: K. Srinivasan (TNCA) & Ch. Ravikanth Reddy (ACA).

Match referee: Youraj Singh.

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