Test team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane disappointed while leading the India A team as he lost his wicket cheaply on the first day of the first unofficial Test against New Zealand A at Mount Maunganui on Friday. Besides Rahane, Murali Vijay also failed to impress much with the willow. While Rahane was dismissed for 12 runs, Vijay managed to score just 28. However, fifties by Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari and wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel lifted India to a respectable total of 340/5 by the end of the day.
India’s senior team is scheduled to tour New Zealand for five ODIs and three T20 Internationals in January next year. Before that, they will tour Australia for a lengthy series, comprising three T20 Internationals, four Tests and three ODIs, starting from November 21.
On their last tour of Australia in 2015-16, India had lost the five-match ODI series 1-4 and won the three-match T20I series 3-0. In the last edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2014-15, India suffered a 0-2 defeat in the four-match Test series.
With the four-match Test series in Australia approaching, the team management had asked some of the senior players to play for India A to prepare for the gruelling tour.
India A coach Rahul Dravid opined that such A team tours will provide senior players a better chance to prepare for the international series ahead.
“It is really nice to be able to hold such tours just before the Indian team visits these countries. We are trying to have shadow tours. We did it in England and we could obviously not do it in Australia, but it is great to go to New Zealand instead,” Dravid told bcci.tv in an interview.
“I think it will be a very good opportunity for some of the boys who are requested by the senior team management to be a part of the A tour. They will be able to gain some match-time experience even if the conditions are not going to be exactly the same or it is not like being in Australia,” he added.
After three four-day Test matches, India A will play as many ODIs in New Zealand. The Test team is being led by Rahane in the first Test, while Karun Nair will captain the side in subsequent Test matches.
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