Rusty Yuvraj Singh in focus as India A hit the nets
An India A side, featuring a host of seniors, take on West Indies A in the first match of their series - three one-day games, one Twenty20 game and three four-day games - in Bangalore on Sunday.
After a fairly young India A side sealed a 3-0 win in the one-day series against New Zealand A in Visakhapatnam on Thursday (September 12), a very different looking India A take on West Indies A in the first match of their series - three one-day games, one Twenty20 game and three four-day games - in Bangalore on Sunday.
The big talking point of the India A team picked for the series is the chance handed to a host of senior players who were dropped from the team in the recent past for a variety of reasons. Yuvraj Singh is the captain of the limited-overs side, while Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan will attempt to impress in the second and third four-day matches.
At the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore on Friday, a clutch of players from the 14-man limited-overs squad went through their drills.
After a bit of stretching indoors, Robin Uthappa was the first at the nets, not displaying any strain even though it was less than 24 hours since he had finished the game against New Zealand A.
Yuvraj walked out shortly afterwards and waited patiently, chatting with Lalchand Rajput, the India A coach, while Uthappa went about his business. Yuvraj didn't have to wait too long for a hit though, as Uthappa cut short his stint, presumably satisfied after re-acquainting himself with his home conditions.
Yuvraj, however, seemed a bit rusty and was troubled by the spinners, especially Rahul Sharma. He was also cautious against the pacers, Praveen Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat, although he wasn't afraid to give the ball a whack when he got a chance.
Thereafter, the likes of Mandeep Singh and Naman Ojha also had a go with the bat even as Yuvraj joined the bowlers.
The session had to be called off before schedule as the skies opened up and the players trudged back indoors. The squad is expected to go through a more rigorous routine on Saturday, when Kedar Jadhav, Shahbaz Nadeem, the Pathan brothers - Irfan and Yusuf - and Unmukt Chand will also be a part of the action.
Meanwhile, the West Indies A squad, led by Kieran Powell, went through a full net session earlier in the day, having touched down on Thursday morning minus Veerasammy Permaul, who is set to join the squad on Saturday. The session lasted almost three hours as the players attempted to shake off the jetlag and get used to the conditions.
Asked about the task ahead, Miguel Cummins, the 23-year-old fast bowler, admitted his team wouldn't have it easy. "It (India A) is a very strong team; batting is very strong and they have very good bowlers," he said. "We have to play well. I'm looking to bowl well and get wickets for the team, to perform well."
Cummins added that he expected a good batting wicket in Bangalore, the venue for all the limited-overs matches. "The bowlers can get something out of these practice wickets," he said. "The main pitch looks green, but I am sure some of it will come off and if the pitch is like the one here at the practice wicket, then it will be a good wicket."