At the idyllic Gangothri Glades Ground in a heritage city gearing up for the Dasara celebrations and where the air still remains leisurely much like the spirit that resonated from the works of its famous writer, the late R.K. Narayan, India ‘A’ and the West Indies ‘A’ will play in the first four-day game of a three-match series.
The clash, which will commence on Wednesday, has the immediate backdrop of the host’s 1-2 loss against the visitors in the one-dayers and the morale-salvaging triumph in the lone Twenty20.
Yet, that piece of history will largely remain redundant as the two squads have changed.
The Indian outfit is different from the one led by Yuvraj Singh in the limited overs contests. Cheteshwar Pujara steps into the captain’s saddle while the West Indies ‘A’ under skipper Kirk Edwards, has a few new players.
While the immediacy of the match ahead will weigh on Pujara, the general focus in a sense is on the next two games at Shimoga and Hubli where Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan will join the ranks and press their case for a comeback into the Indian team.
And that adds all the more reason for a young batsman like K.L. Rahul to catch the selectors’ eye especially with Vikram Rathour and Roger Binny being around for the next few days.
Pujara will lend weight to a largely rookie batting line-up while the bowling has a relatively more seasoned look with Ashoke Dinda, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohammad Shami and Parvez Rasool in its ranks.
The Windies, meanwhile, will lean on skipper Edwards to deliver.
After a century in the recent one-dayers, Edwards is one among a clutch of players, trying to make a comeback into the senior squad when it tours India during November.
The visitors will hope that the pitch with its reported fondness for fast bowlers in the past, continues to reveal that trait, so that Miguel Cummins and company can thrive.
The weather too has added some mystique as a brief drizzle on Tuesday afternoon briefly threatened the Windies’ training session before the clouds finally vanished.
The teams (from):
India A: Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), Jiwanjot Singh, K.L. Rahul, Manpreet Juneja, Rajat Paliwal, Harshad Khadiwale, Parvez Rasool, Bhargav Bhatt, Ishwar Pandey, Mohammad Shami, Ashoke Dinda, Rohit Motwani, Dhawal Kulkarni and Paras Dogra.
West Indies A: Kirk Edwards (captain), Kieran Powell (vice-captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Miguel Cummins, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Jahmar Hamilton, Delorn Johnson, Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Veerasammy Permaul and Chadwick Walton.