Given Dravid’s stress on Ranji, selectors pick two ‘A’ teams

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03 Oct 2017 01:26 AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a first-of-a-kind move, the senior national selectors have announced two 'A' teams for five-match one-day series against New Zealand 'A' starting on October 6. On the face of it, it looks like a smart move to try out more players against the Kiwis, but the decision has been forced due to the Indian cricket board's (BCCI) poorly-planned domestic calendar.

The 'A' series coincides with the Ranji Trophy — India's premier first-class tournament.

The selectors also had to pick the Board President's XI team to play two warm-up matches against the Kiwis.

These matches will be played between October 6 to 19. If a player was picked for the 'A' matches as well as the warm-up matches, he would have missed at least two rounds of Ranji matches.

TOI understands that India 'A' and U-19 coach Rahul Dravid was not pleased with the prospect of players missing out on Ranji Trophy matches for the sake of playing List A matches for India.

"The team was specifically picked keeping this in mind.

The importance of Ranji Trophy performances can't be ignored.

As it is, there are fewer Ranji matches these days as teams have been divided into four groups," a source close to the development told TOI on Monday.

"Dravid isn't very comfortable with the idea of pulling players out of Ranji Trophy.

He wants Ranji to be given as much importance.

His ideas are kept in mind," a senior BCCI official said.

Even the unofficial Tests against New Zealand 'A' overlapped with the Duleep Trophy final.

It may be recalled that the board had reinstated the Duleep Trophy at the last minute after having scrapped it from the calendar initially.

Shreyas Iyer, who has been in great form for India 'A', has been appointed captain for the first three matches against New Zealand 'A' as his state team Mumbai are not playing in the opening round of the Ranji Trophy.

On the other hand, the captain for the last two matches, Rishabh Pant, will miss only the second round Ranji match.

"The selectors also had to keep in mind the stress on these young players who have been hopping cities and teams since the Duleep Trophy started last month.

That's why someone like Shardul Thakur, who the selectors have kept on the fringes of the Indian team, is in both the 'A' teams but not in the Board President's XI. Others like Deepak Hooda, Prithvi Shaw and Karn Sharma have been juggled," the source informed.

India 'A' team for first three One-day games: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Deepak Hooda, Shubman Gill, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Shahbaz Nadeem, Karn Sharma, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammed Siraj, Basil Thampi.

India 'A' team for last two One-day games: AR Easwaran, Prashant Chopra, Ankit Bawne, Shubman Gill, Baba Aparajith, Rishabh Pant (Captain & wk), Shahbaz Nadeem, Karn Sharma, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammed Siraj, Basil Thampi.

Board President's XI team: Prithvi Shaw, Shivam Chaudhary, Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Karun Nair, Gurkeerat Mann, Milind Kumar, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Avesh Khan.

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