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Pujara to lead India 'A' in West Indies

April 27, 2012 20:04 IST

Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was on Friday named the captain of the India 'A' team that will tour the West Indies in June for three four-day matches, three One-dayers and two Twenty20s.

The All-India Senior Selection Committee met at the Cricket Centre and selected the 15-man squad for the Caribbean tour.

Wriddhiman Saha has been named as Pujara's deputy.

The squad also includes talented Rohit Sharma, who faces stiff competition from the likes of in-form batsmen Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan and Manoj Tiwary.

The fast bowling department will be spearheaded by Ashok Dinda and Rudra Pratap Singh while the spin attack will have Rahul Sharma, Jalaj Saxena and Akshay Darekar.

Kensington Oval in Barbados, Arnos Vale Cricket Ground in St Vincent and the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia will stage the four-day matches, while the T20s will be played at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad and the one-dayers at the new Queen's Park in Grenada.

The India 'A' squad for some surprising reason does not have a second wicket-keeper in the 15-member team which also includes a couple of players who haven't had any worthwhile performance during the whole domestic season.

Considering that the team is playing far away in the Caribbean islands, an injury to Saha would mean that there is no specialist wicket-keeper to replace him.

One of the national selectors gave a bizarre reason saying, "Had it been a 16-member squad we could have picked a second 'keeper but since we had to select 15, we had to stick to one wicketkeeper."

The selectors are bound by BCCI diktat about not discussing selection policies but two names that would certainly raise eyebrows are that of Madhya Pradesh's Jalaj Saxena and Uttar Pradesh paceman R P Singh.

The two notable omissions were Ranji Trophy's highest wicket-taker TP Sudhindra and Duleep Trophy's highest scorer Anustup Majumdar.

Madhya Pradesh all-rounder Saxena neither had any worthy performance with bat nor with ball. In seven Ranji matches, he scored 146 runs and got 11 wickets. In two Duleep Trophy matches, Saxena had scored 86 runs and taken three wickets.

In the five domestic One-day matches, he scored 85 runs and took seven scalps. Anustup, on the other hand scored 348 runs to emerge as Duleep's highest run-getter and had hat-trick of first-class centuries (one in Ranji and then back-to back in Duleep).

RP, who was sent to England, has taken only 14 wickets in seven Ranji Trophy games compared to 40 wickets by Sudhindra in as many matches.

The tour commences with a four-day match at the Kensington Oval on June 2.

Squad: Cheteshwar Pujara (capt), Wriddhiman Saha (vice-capt), Abhinav Mukund, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Jalaj Saxena, R P Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Robin Bisht, Akshay Darekar and Sami Ahmed.

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