The in-form Prithvi Shaw, on Monday, took another step towards an India comeback after being named in the 'A' squad for the tour of New Zealand.
Shaw has been in sublime touch since returning from an eight-month doping ban last month. The youngster made a spectacular double hundred in Mumbai's Ranji Trophy-opener against Baroda.
Though India have a settled opening pair in Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agawal, 20-year-old Shaw could make the Test squad for the New Zealand series as a reserve opener.
After picking the India 'A' squad for the tour of New Zealand, selection committee chairman MSK Prasad made it clear that they want Shaw to get as much "game time as possible".
Shaw had made a memorable Test debut last year, scoring a hundred against the West Indies in Rajkot.
Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been recovering from a back injury, was on Monday included in the India 'A' squad for three One-dayers and tour matches in New Zealand.
Pandya, who underwent a surgery in October, has been out of action since September due to a lower back injury.
The dashing all-rounder's back problems have persisted since the Asia Cup in 2018, the first time he complained of a stiff back. Since then the team management along with the selectors have monitored and managed his workload.
Provided he clears the India 'A' test, he will be included in the senior team that will tour New Zealand for five T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Tests in the last week of January.
Pandya had earlier said he was targeting an international return during the tour of New Zealand.
"(As for) Hardik, we will have a look at him in the third week of January," chief selector MSK Prasad told reporters.
Hanuma Vihari will captain India in the first-class games in New Zealand and Shubman Gill in the 50-over format.
Test specialists like Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma will get much needed match time in New Zealand ahead of the two-Test series, beginning in Wellington on February 21. The second Test will be played in Christchurch from February 29.
"As we have set the system, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mayank Agarwal will play the second 'A' game," said Prasad.
Ishant, Shikhar to play for Delhi against Hyderabad
Senior pacer Ishant Sharma and veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan will turn up for the beleaguered Delhi side in their next Ranji Trophy encounter against Hyderabad starting December 25.
Ishant was given rest for a couple of Ranji Trophy games as a part of BCCI's workload management programme and he will now try to get back into the groove before the New Zealand Test tour.
As far as Dhawan is concerned, he had a deep gash on his knee while playing in the Syed Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and had to get 25 stitches. The left-hander has now been declared fit by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and will get some game-time before the international games.
"Ishant and Shikhar will be playing for Delhi. My colleague Sarandeep Singh will be watching that match," said Prasad, who is flying to Surat on Tuesday to watch Jasprit Bumrah's comeback to competitive cricket.
Bumrah, who was out of action due to stress fractures, will feature in Gujarat's game against Kerala.
Harmanpreet, Smriti, Veda to lead teams in Challenger Trophy
Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Veda Kirshnamurthi will lead the India A, B and C teams respectively in the women's T20 Challenger Trophy to be played in Cuttack from January 4 to 11.
The squads were picked on Monday after a meeting of the All-India Women's Selection Committee, a BCCI release stated.
The selection committee named 14 players each in all three squads.
India A: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Taniya Bhatia (WK), Shivali Shinde (WK), Jasia Akhtar, Priya Puniya, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Sneh Rana, Mansi Joshi, Meghna Singh, Komal Jhanjhad, Meenu Mani, Radha Yadav, Bharati Fulmali
India B: Smriti Mandhana (C), Sushma Verma (WK), R Kalpana (WK), Vanitha V.R, Jemimah Rodrigues, Anuja Patil, Poonam Yadav, Pooja Vastrakar, Shikha Pandey, Renuka Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Sushri Dibyadarshini, T.P. Kanwar, Richa Ghosh
India C: Veda Krishnamurthy (C), Nuzhat Parween (WK), Shafali Verma (WK), Yastika Bhatiya, D. Hemlatha, Harleen Deol, Manali Dakshini, Jincy George, Arundhati Reddy, Monica Patel, Vrushali Bhagat, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Tanushree Sarkar, Madhuri Mehta.