Viru and Gambhir hope to prove a point against WI
By Express News Service | Published: 02nd October 2013 10:57 AM |
India A almost have the look of a senior Test side than an unofficial one for the series against the touring West Indies A. Cricket enthusiasts in Shimoga will have the opportunity to witness Test veterans such as Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan in action as the second four-day game gets underway here on Gandhi Jayanthi.
Will the side led by Cheteshwar Pujara with a decent splattering of proven customers take revenge and square up the three-game series after they lost by a huge margin of 162 runs at Mysore last week? That’s the question in everyone’s mind.
Traditionally, it was the West Indies pace battery that used to undo the Indians at all levels. But this visiting team has been a contradiction. Their spinners have exploited the home conditions superbly and have done all the damage. Nikita Miller hauled nine wickets. Veerasammy Permaul scalped eight and Narsingh Deonarine have given them good support. The Indian batsmen have not been able to play them with any assurance. The skipper himself flopped, tallying three and 17 runs in the two innings.
His batting order will be interesting. If he decides to open with the customary Delhi pair of Sehwag and Gambhir, India’s most successful opening combo in Tests, they might be able to wrest the advantage and give the team a solid start.
But the glitch is that Sehwag and Gambhir are struggling to find form and haven’t played big knocks for long. Gambhir even flopped in his county stint. They also failed in the just-concluded one-day tournament.
However, at stake for them is a place in the senior team set to host the West Indies. That must be enough motivation to do well.
It’s time the team provided players such as Sheldon Jackson, Abhishek Nayar, Paras Dogra, Uday Kaul (wk) and Mohammad Kaif the opportunity to prove their wares. Except J & K spinner Parvez Rasool, the bowlers too have not impressed. With Zaheer’s fitness also under the scanner, the visitors appear to have an edge.
Skipper Kirk Edwards, Kieran Powell, Kraigg Brathwaite and Assad Fudadin have produced innings of substance, backed as they have been by superb bowling spells to defend the targets that they have set. In any case, an interesting match is in store with huge crowds expected on the opening day as it is a public holiday.
India A: Cheteshwar Pujara (Capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sheldon Jackson, Abhishek Nayar, Paras Dogra, Uday Kaul (wk), Mohammad Kaif, Parvez Rasool, Bhargav Bhatt, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zaheer Khan, Ishwar Pandey, Mohammed Shami.West Indies A: Kirk Edwards (Capt), Kieran Powell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cotterell, Miguel Cummins, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Jahmar Hamilton, Delorn Johnson, Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Veerasammy Permaul, Shane Shillingford, Chadwick Walton.