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Focus on Raina as strong Bangladesh challenge awaits India 'A'

Last updated on: September 15, 2015 18:00 IST

Suresh Raina

IMAGE: India A player Suresh Raina during a practice session in Bengaluru. Photograph: PTI

Star batsman Suresh Raina will look to get some batting practice ahead of the upcoming South Africa series along with some of the other fringe players as India 'A' take on a strong Bangladesh 'A' side, in a three-match One-Day series, starting in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.

Also, looking to impress the selectors would be Karun Nair, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Dhawal Kulkarni and Karn Sharma to name a few.

Jadhav and Pandey had in fact played well in India's last limited overs series in Zimbabwe and are in the 30-member probables lost announced for the South Africa series.

With all the senior players set to be available provided they are injury free, at the most couple of slots will be up for grabs, when Sandeep Patil led selection committee sit down to pick squads for the three T20 Internationals and five ODIs against the Proteas starting next month.

On Wednesday, all eyes will be on Raina, who will be returning to competitive cricket after a three-month break having last played during India's disastrous tour of Bangladesh.

No longer in the scheme of things as far as Test cricket is concerned, Raina would like to quickly hit the straps against a quality Bangladesh side where all but one player (Saqlain Sajib) have played international cricket.

Raina can expect some quality pace bowling with senior team trio of Taskin Ahmed, Al Amin Hossain and Rubel Hossain expected to be in action at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

While Raina's tormentor during the Bangladesh series Mustafizur Rahaman is not a part of the attack, the neighbouring country will be hoping that the players do well before their home series against Australia kicks off.

Apart from Raina, Jadhav and Pandey, it will also be a test of character for young India 'A' captain Unmukt Chand, who had a good tri-series in Chennai recently scoring three half-centuries along with Karnataka opener Mayank Agarwal whose had scores of 130, 61 and 176 against the South Africa 'A' and Australia 'A' sides.

For coach Rahul Dravid, his concern will also be to prepare potent bowling bench strength apart from having a clutch of good young batsmen at his disposal.

The focus will be on the spinners led by leg-spinner Karn, who missed out on the Zimbabwe tour due to a hand injury and fared moderately well for India 'A' in the tri-series.

With dearth of off-spinners in the country, lanky Haryana lad Jayant Yadav will also look to make an impression after a decent 'four-day Test' series against South Africa 'A'.

Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who was picked last year during the aborted home series against West Indies will also like to get a chance during the three matches to make a case for his inclusion in the national side.

The pace bowling department does not look up to the mark as all the bowlers in the group are at the best medium pacers or slow medium bowlers.

Gujarat's Rush Kalaria bowls in the 120 kmph range while Srinath Aravind bowls in the early 130 kmph. However, Aravind at times can also bowl left-arm spin as he has done in domestic cricket for Karnataka.

Dhawal Kulkarni would like improve his show from the last series in order to remain in contention for a place in the 15-member squad next month.

The Indian bowlers will have task cut out with the very talented Soumya Sarkar, the pint-sized Mominul Haque and hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman Litton Das -- all capable of winning matches for their country as they have shown in recent times.

The second and third match of the series will be held on September 18 and 20.

Teams:

India 'A': Unmukt Chand (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Sanju Samson (w/k), Karun Nair, Kuldeep Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Karan Sharma, Rishi Dhawan, Srinath Aravind, Dhawal Kulkarni, Rush Kalaria, Gurkeerat Singh Mann.

Bangladesh 'A': Mominul Haque (captain), Anamul Haque Bijoy, Rony Talukdar, Litton Kumar Das (w/k), Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Nasir Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Saqlain Sajib, Shuvagata Hom, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Jubair Hossain.

Image: Suresh Raina

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