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Bangalore, Sep 17 : Hello and welcome to the 2nd unofficial ODI. India A won the 1st unofficial ODI comfortably thanks to Yuvraj's 123 off just 89 balls. India A will be looking to seal the series here where as on the other hand, West Indies A will be looking to win this match and square the series with one match to go.
India A have won the toss and have opted to field
India A (Playing XI): Robin Uthappa, Unmukt Chand, Mandeep Singh, Yuvraj Singh(c), Kedar Jadhav, Yusuf Pathan, Naman Ojha(w), Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Sumit Narwal, Shahbaz Nadeem
West Indies A (Playing XI): Kieran Powell(c), Jonathan Carter, Kirk Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Andre Russell, Devon Thomas(w), Ashley Nurse, Nikita Miller, Veerasammy Permaul, Miguel Cummins, Leon Johnson
Match preview :
If India ‘A’ matches are all about presenting individual cases then Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan and Mandeep Singh did a commendable job during the first one-day match against West Indies ‘A’ on Sunday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Yuvraj made a ballistic hundred to underline the fact that he has so much more to offer as a cricketer, Yusuf’s blistering fifty told us that there’s still some fire left in his blade and Mandeep’s assured half-ton spoke volumes about the 21-year-old Punjabi’s skill and temperament.
Some of them like Robin Uthappa and Unmukt Chand might have misfired in the first match, but they will be eager to push their cases forward when India take on the visitors in the second one-dayer here on Tuesday.
Beyond the aforementioned personal angle, the ‘A’ matches have a much larger significance to it.
The under-19 and ‘A’ tours are long preceived to be the feeder lines to the national squad. While, the under-19 matches threw up talents like Yuvraj, Irfan Pathan and Virat Kohli, the ‘A’ tours reached a near-extinct stage, especially in the turn of this millenium.
Perhaps, the presence of a set of remarkably gifted players and India’s subsequent rise to the top of the world cricket in Tests and one-dayers might have played a part in pushing the ‘A’ tours towards the red line.
With India climbing the ladder steadily and their international calendar getting crowded by the day, the bigwigs might have felt the ‘A’ tour was an avoidable entity.
But two disastrous away tours to England and Australia changed the whole scenario. The tremors of those trips brought curtains to the careers of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
Many of the seniors such as Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh too were shown the door after a string of below par outings subsequently as Indian cricket slipped into a seemingly endless freefall.
A clutch of youngsters, however, never allowed the big boys’ absence to be felt, churning out some stirring performances home and away.
While the temptation might be high to move away from the old guard once and for all, the mandarins might have been aware of the dangers of such a drastic step.
A slew of high-voltage matches are coming in India’s way, starting with the seven-match one-day series against Australia in October, and despite their irrefutable success, thrusting heavy burden on the young shoulders wouldn’t be that wise a move.
The powers that be were quick to suss up the situation, instilling a new lease of life into ‘A’ tours to give youngsters an opportunity to push their case and to those in exile a chance to make comeback. It’s hard to remember a year in recent times when India undertook as many ‘A’ series as in 2013.
They were also prudent enough to think of post-MS Dhoni era in terms of captaincy, bringing in Cheteswar Pujara and Yuvraj to the mix.
There might be strong voices of difference against the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s method of operations at the moment, but the administrators deserve a pat in the back for reviving the ‘A’ games just when they were needed most. Now, it’s the players’ turn to respond.