India A will take on Australia A in the first unofficial Test of the two-match series at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday. Rahul Dravid, who was recently appointed the coach of the India A side, is looking to create a good bench strength.
The tours of 'A' team gained prominence after Anil Kumble-led technical committee came into power. Dravid stressed on the fact that the bowlers should have the capability of taking 10 wickets and the batsmen should stay put at the crease for a longer period of time in this format of the game.
Cheteshwar Pujara will be leading the India A side in these two four-day games. Pujara, who was left out of the Indian Test squad after his poor run of form in England and Australia, is desperate to show his class and get back to the Indian National Team. Pujara was recently left out of the Bangladesh tour as well. It would be a great opportunity for him to get back to scoring ways.
This India A side will be showcasing the likes of KL Rahul, Abhinav Mukund, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, Abhimanyu Mithun and Umesh Yadav. Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh have been preferred by the selectors off late for Team India and thus spinners like Ojha and Mishra cannot make their way into the National Side. They would be raring to perform against Australia A in the unofficial Test match starting on Wednesday.
"We are going to discuss about playing both Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha. We have already had a discussion. I am going to disclose who are all going to play tomorrow. Both Mishra and Ojha are experienced players," Pujara told the reporters on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Varun Aaron has been ruled out of the first four-day Test match against Australia A due to viral fever.
"I do not want to disclose the combination of the playing XI. There will be bounce and pace in the strip. Overall, if you see, Chennai wicket is always good for batting. What we need is a true wicket, where there is enough contest between bat and ball. However, Varun Aaron has viral fever and he is ruled out of the first 'Test' match," skipper Pujara confirmed the news on Tuesday in Chennai.
Players like Shreyas Iyer, Rahul and Vijay Shankar will be looking forward to making an impact in this game. Iyer, who had a fantastic domestic season and a brilliant IPL campaign with the Delhi Daredevils, will look to carve his path to the Indian National Team after putting up a good batting show in the series.
"We will have mixture of both senior and youngsters. Obviously, we have to think about the team and need to have the right combination. Whoever fits in the team's combination will play tomorrow," Pujara added.
On the other hand, Australia A skipper Usman Khawaja is training hard for this series against India A and is confident that he and his side would do well in these two four-day Test matches. His side will also have the likes of Stephen O'Keefe, Joe Burns, Gurinder Sandhu and others to showcase their talent.
"I have been training pretty hard and doing everything every cricketer do. I know Pujara did an ACL [Anterior cruciate ligament] reconstruction but he had come back and score lot of runs. I am confident of how well I will be playing in the series. It is just a chance to play cricket. I am excited and playing in India is always fun. To be honest, I am not nervous but excited," Khawaja told the reporters.
Sandhu said it is a good opportunity for him to represent Australia and play against India.
"It is good to come back here. I used to come to Chennai a lot. It is an wonderful opportunity representing Australia again. It is always good to put on the colours and represent Australia. It is going to be a challenging competition and I hope we win our games," Sandhu told the reporters ahead of the first unofficial four-day Test match against India A.