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Spotlight on Pant as India A set to tour SA in June '17

December 14, 2016 19:45 IST

IMAGE: Wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant. Photograph: Facebook.

The likes of Priyank Panchal, Rishabh Pant will get an opportunity to prove their mettle as India A under Rahul Dravid's guidance is all set to tour South Africa during June, next year.

The tour is expected to happen at the same time when the senior side will be in England for the ICC Champions Trophy.

As a part of BCCI's policy of having more A tours in challenging conditions, the second batch of India hopefuls will be put to test in conditions where there will be more pace and bounce.

"Yes, India A's tour of South Africa in the month of June, next year has been finalised. This is a part of BCCI promoting more A tours to get the talented India aspirants battle ready. The conditions there will test the quality of batsmanship," a senior BCCI office-bearer in the know of things told PTI.

The tour will have multiple four-day matches as well as List A (50-over matches) keeping in mind that from 2017, the preparation towards the 2019 World Cup commences.

The last time when India A toured South Africa was 2013 with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha all being a part of that set-up.

IMAGE: India's under-19 team coach Rahul Dravid. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images.

When India played their last time, the two four day games were played at Rustenberg and Pretoria while the tri-series was entirely played in Pretoria. The 'Test' series was drawn 1-1 while List A tri-series was won by India.

The current tour has been scheduled after the 10th edition of Indian Premier League where all the top players are expected to play.

"The A tours give ideal opportunity to the performers in domestic cricket to showcase their talent. Look at the likes of Priyank Panchal, who has scored over 1000 runs or youngsters like Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan who have caught the attention -- the selectors will get a chance to test if they are ready for the next level or not," a top BCCI source said.

The India team management's current policy is to check the players thoroughly at the domestic and A level. It is the tour of Australia that convinced MSK Prasad and Gagan Khoda that Jayant Yadav is ready for international cricket.

Similarly senior team coach Anil Kumble wanted Rahul Dravid work on Hardik Pandya's bowling and the all-rounder returned to the senior team with increased pace.

Meanwhile Ranji Trophy quarter-final venues are set to be decided only after Jharkhand and Odisha play their final Ranji Trophy group league encounter starting in Thiruvananthapuram from Thursday.

A lot will depend on where Jharkhand finish in the group. If they win outright and go on top of the table, they will be meeting Haryana (C2).

"The quarter-final venues will be decided only after the Jharkhand vs Odisha match gets over on December 18," a source added. 

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