Shubman Gill in focus as India A take on South Africa A in 5-match ODI series
Thiruvananthapuram: Young Shubman Gill would be the cynosure of all eyes when the five-match unofficial ODI series between India A and South Africa begins here on Thursday.
Gill, who has been in good form in recent times, shone during the India A team's recent Caribbean tour but missed out on selection for the senior ODI squad. And the batsman would be keen to prove his credentials during the matches against the visiting Proteas 'A' side.
The stylish Punjab right-hander, who played two ODIs in New Zealand earlier this year, would look to continue the good run he enjoyed in the Caribbean (with the 'A' team) to make a case for himself before the national selectors ahead of the home season. Besides Gill, all-rounder Vijay Shankar is another player who will be on the selectors' lens after he recovered from a toe injury.
Shankar had to returned mid-way from the ICC World Cup in England due to the injury and made his return to the field during the recent Tamil Nadu Premier League.
With a long home season ahead, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder would be eager to get back into the groove and push his case for selection.
Manish Pandey, who recently made a comeback into the national limited-overs side in the West Indies, will lead the team in the first three games before Shreyas Iyer takes over for the last two matches.
Pandey will be eyeing big runs as the battle for a middle-order slot in the Indian ODI side continues.
The team comprises several players who were recently part of the senior limited overs side in the West Indies.
The series will also provide a good opportunity for wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to get his mojo back.
Chahal, who is going through a slump in form since the World Cup, would be looking to hit the straps quickly against the Proteas, who are not regarded as great players of spin.
Krunal Pandya, who has made a mark with both bat and ball in the T20 series in the Caribbean, will also be seen in action along side talented Ishan Kishan, in-form Ruturaj Gaikwad and Nitish Rana.
India A's bowling will be led by pace duo of Khaleel Ahmed and Deepak Chahar.
For South Africa A, led by the experienced Temba Bavuma, the series will help them gain much-needed experience of sub-continent conditions ahead of the senior team's tour.
Bavuma, who has played 36 Tests and two ODIs, will need to bring all his experience to the fore.
India A: Manish Pandey (Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Anmolpreet Singh, Ricky Bhui, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Vijay Shankar, Shivam Dube, Krunal Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Nitish Rana.
South Africa A': Temba Bavuma (Captain), Matthew Breetzke, Kyle Verrynne, Junior Dala, Theunis de Bruyn, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde , Janneman Malan, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje, Sinethemba Qeshile, Lutho Sipamla. (Match starts at 9 am)