Wriddhiman Saha gets India A chance in bid to regain Test spot

Wriddhiman Saha will get a chance to stake his claim for a return to India’s Test team when he tours the Caribbean with the India A team after the World Cup. The tour, which includes five one-day matches (from July 11 to 21) and three four-day matches (from July 24 to August 9) will directly precede the senior India team’s tour of the West Indies, which is set to begin in early August.

A spate of injuries has led to Saha not featuring for India since the first Test of their South Africa tour in January 2018. He has been named in the India A squad for all three four-day matches in the West Indies, with KS Bharat as the other wicketkeeping option. Rishabh Pant, the incumbent Test keeper, isn’t in the four-day squad but finds a place in the one-day squad.

Given that India will tour the West Indies soon after, the India A squad includes a number of players who are likely to be part of the senior team, such as Test batsmen Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari. Shaw and Agarwal, along with KL Rahul, have established themselves as the three first-choice Test openers in recent months, with the more established pair of M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan falling out of favour.

Neither Vijay nor Dhawan is part of the India A squads in the West Indies, suggesting that the selectors might now be looking beyond them. One of the batsmen who might be in the reckoning for a top-order slot is Shubman Gill, who recently made his ODI debut in New Zealand, and has been picked in both squads for the West Indies games.

Along with the squads for the West Indies tour, the senior national selection committee, chaired by MSK Prasad, has also announced the India A squads for a home series against Sri Lanka A, which begins on May 25. This series will include two four-day matches and five one-dayers, all of which will be played in the towns of Belgaum and Hubli in Karnataka.

India A squads

1st & 2nd four-day matches against West Indies A: Shreyas Iyer (capt), Priyank Panchal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shubman Gill, Hanuma Vihari, Shivam Dube, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), KS Bharat (wk), K Gowtham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mayank Markande, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Avesh Khan

3rd four-day match against West Indies A: Shreyas Iyer (capt), Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Shivam Dube, Mayank Markande, K Gowtham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Avesh Khan

One-day matches against West Indies A: Manish Pandey (capt), Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Rahul Chahar, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Khaleel Ahmed, Avesh Khan

Four-day matches against Sri Lanka A: Ishan Kishan (capt & wk), Anmolpreet Singh, Rituraj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, Ricky Bhui, Shubman Gill, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Gopal, Washington Sundar, Mayank Markande, Tushar Deshpande, Sandeep Warrier, Ishan Porel, Prashant Chopra

One-day matches against Sri Lanka A: Priyank Panchal (capt), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Anmolpreet Singh, Ricky Bhui, Siddhesh Lad, Rinku Singh, Shivam Dube, KS Bharat (wk), Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Aditya Sarwate, Sandeep Warrier, Ankit Rajpoot, Ishan Porel

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