Led by the in-form Cheteshwar Pujara, India ‘A’ will eye revenge for the ODI series loss when they take on a confident West Indies ‘A’ in the unofficial three-Test series, starting at the Gangotri Glades, in Mysore, on Wednesday.
Saurashtra run-machine Pujara had a good series with the bat against South Africa ‘A’ and will hope to carry his form into the Test series.
Pujara has made headlines with big scores at the international level and did not miss the opportunity to score a scintillating century in the previous unofficial Test series against South Africa ‘A’ in their backyard.
The Saurashtra batsman followed it up with 54 as an opener in the first innings of the second unofficial Test and showed he is ready for the upcoming West Indies series.
Pujara, who has scored 1,180 runs from 13 Tests, at an average of 65.55, will also have an opportunity to showcase his captaincy skills.
He goes into the West Indies series with fond memories of squaring the series against South Africa ‘A’.
He successfully led India ‘A’ to victory over the hosts by an innings and 13 runs in the first unofficial Test. The team lost the second Test by 121 runs as he did not field the winning combination, preferring to other youngsters a chance.
With the kind of form and fighting qualifies the West Indies ‘A’ displayed in the ODI series, Pujara and his men will be wary of their opponents.
Manpreet Juneja, a right-handed batsman from Ahmedabad, will be itching to go against the West Indies, especially after a fruitful series against New Zealand ‘A’. He amassed 236 runs in two innings with a remarkable 193 in the second Test.
Other youngsters such as Jiwanjot Singh, K L Rahul, Rajat Paliwal and Harshad Khadiwale, who have shown their potential in domestic matches, would like display their batting talent too.
India's bowling looks formidable on paper with Ashoke Dinda, Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Chand Pandey and Parvez Rasool making up a good combination.
Rasool will also be observed the selectors after he made a mark when he picked up 7 for 45 for the Board President's XI against the visiting Australians in their tour-opener in Chennai in February 2013.
The West Indies 'A', on the other hand, will go into the series with their tails up after having clinched the ODI series 2-1 against a formidable Indian side.
However, they would like to tread a cautious path after losing the one-off T20 match by a huge margin.
Kirk Edwards, their captain for the Tests, will aim to convert the defeat into an opportunity to make amends in their approach and plug loopholes in the fielding department, which cost them the Twenty20 match.
With a century under their belts, Edwards and Jonathan Carter would like to carry the good form into the longer version of the game.
Kieran Powell, who got some runs in the T20 match, could be a danger, especially if he succeeds in giving a good start to the West Indies at the top.
Their main strength, however, remains the bowling, which saw them restrict India. Miguel Cummins, Veerasammy Permaul, Nikita Miller all have been among wickets.
India ‘A’: Cheteshwar Pujara (c), Jiwanjot Singh, K L Rahul, Manpreet Juneja, Rajat Paliwal, Harshad Khadiwale, Parvez Rasool, Bhargav Bhatt, Ishwar Chand Pandey, Mohammed Shami, Ashoke Dinda, Rohit Motwani (wicketkeeper), Dhawal Kulkarni and Paras Dogra.
West Indies ‘A’: Kirk Edwards (c), Kieran Powell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Miguel Cummins, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Jahmar Hamilton, Delorn Johnson, Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Veerasammy Permaul, Shane Shillingford, Chadwick Walton.
Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images