As India A take on Bangladesh in the unofficial three-day Test in Bengaluru, a lot of players will get a chance to either prepare themselves for the South Africa series or stake a claim for the same as the series approaches. While the core of the team to take on South Africa is pretty much ready following the success gained in Sri Lanka, there are still a few places up for grabs. Also, you never know when injury may provide an opening. Thus, all the players who get a chance against Bangladesh would be keen to make an impact.
The squad will be led by Shikhar Dhawan, who will be keen to prove his fitness before the South Africa T20s get underway. The left-hander has been in excellent form ever since the World Cup. In fact, he has two Test hundreds in the last two Tests he played in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, injury struck at the wrong time, and he had to miss the last two Tests of the series against Sri Lanka. On current form, Dhawan is a must have for India in all formats, and thus he would like to get going again against Bangladesh.
The match will also be of extreme importance to Ravindra Jadeja. Till a year and a half back, he was a constant feature in all three formats of the match. But, since the disastrous performance in the World Cup, things have changed. In fact, ever since the Test at Lord’s, where he played a whirlwind knock, he has hardly done anything of note in international cricket. However, with Harbhajan Singh struggling, Jadeja could be back in a reckoning as the third spinner. For that though, he needs to prove that he is still good enough.
Karun Nair is another batsman who could gain a lot from the match. He was selected in the team for the third Test in Sri Lanka. And, although he did not feature in the starting eleven, his inclusion was proof enough that he is seen as a future prospect. A good performance against Bangladesh would do his chances no harm. Shreyas Iyer is also another upcoming talent who can make an impact. Naman Ojha, who played one Test in Sri Lanka, has got another opportunity to stake his claim for a Test spot. Wriddhiman Saha remains the first choice, but Ojha has it in him to give the former a good run for his money.
There are vacancies in India’s pace department, particularly when it comes to the first Test with Ishant Sharma banned, and Mohammad Shami unavailable. Varun Aaron thus gets another shot at aiming for a place in the Indian team. He has played a few international games so far, but hasn’t been able to make any kind of impact. With his pace, he remains a sought-after player on the domestic scene but somehow hasn’t been translating those into performances at the international level. He needs to start doing the same before time runs out.
--By A Cricket Analyst