We rarely see a warm-up match, first game of the tour, has so much at stake, especially more to home team than visitors like the India A vs England three day match starting from tomorrow (October 30th) at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai.
Since the selectors have decided to fill the India A squad with full of choices they look at for filling the Indian test squad, performance in this match will most likely be the difference between making and missing the cut to wear the white dress sooner for the players. With the likely playing XI to be A Mukund, A Rahane, M Vijay, Yuvraj Singh, S Raina, M Tiwary, W Saha (wk), I Pathan, A Dinda, P Awana and Vinay Kumar, England can expect a serious challenge from India A since everyone will play hard to grab their respective spot at stake in the Indian test squad.
The poor form of Sehwag and Gambhir means Mukund, Rahane and Vijay got a great chance to give selectors a headache while selecting the test team with big performance. Ever since Ganguly retired in 2008, the No.6 batting slot in Indian test team hadn’t found his master yet. Though Suresh Raina started in all the home test matches against New Zealand, his indifferent outings in the series and Yuvraj Singh’s sizzling double century in Duleep Trophy opened the booth again. Graeme Smith is known to be left hand batsmen’s nemesis. So, both players can prove plenty through this match. Actually, this match might even turn out to be a straight knockout round between them because they are the likely two fighting for No.6 spot now. Manoj Tiwary fights his own battle, i.e. to keep him ahead of Rohit Sharma in selector’s radar.
With Zaheer Khan in twilight of his career, Ishant Sharma still not come of age to lead the attack and Umesh Yadav being very raw, India is on the lookout for more fast bowling options. Irfan Pathan, who had a good year so far at limited over cricket, can make a strong claim for test comeback. Also, India needs someone like him as 4th bowler who can bat in overseas condition. He along with Ashok Dinda, who had a great domestic season last year and started this season impressively with a 7 for in Duleep Trophy, will be watched closely by the selectors. Vinay Kumar, who debuted in Perth last year, need to keep himself in contention. While Parvinder Awana need to make his first impression at big stage.
As we rejoice the excitement in the contest ahead, we should not forget to give the due credit to selectors for their good intent. New selection committee begun well and hope it continues in future.