All eyes on Gill

The Tribune

The Tribune

Author 2019-09-17 09:41:00

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Mysuru, September 16

Young Shubman Gill will be the centre of attraction when a dominant India A lock horns against South Africa A in the second and final unofficial Test of the series, starting here tomorrow.

After pocketing the five-match unofficial ODI series 4-1, India A continued their domination over South Africa A in the four-day format by winning the first game by seven wickets.

And the Indians would look to draw curtains on the series on a perfect note with yet another complete performance. But the focus will be on 19-year-old Gill, who has broken into the Indian Test squad for the three-match series against South Africa, starting on October 2 in Visakhapatnam.

Gill, who was captain in the first match, made a superb 90 en route to the comprehensive win. And the youngster from Punjab would be eager to prove the national selectors right after being named in the Virat Kohli-led Indian Test squad. In the second game, the national selectors have given opportunities to several performers in the domestic circuit.

Experienced Bengal wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha will take over the captaincy from Gill, while openers Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran have also been drafted in. Both Panchal and Easwaran, who too are knocking on the doors of the Test side, will be keen to showcase their potential after Gill leapfrogged them into the five-day team.

Saha was in the reserves on the recent tour of West Indies as Rishabh Pant donned the gloves. With Pant’s keeping skills on Indian wickets yet to be tested in the longest format, Saha would fancy his chances and a good showing here would do him a world of good.

Karnataka batsman Karun Nair, out of favour since the home series against Australia in 2017, is also part of the squad and will hope to score big after some impressive performances in the recent Duleep Trophy. But it remains to be seen if Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who missed the first match due to a thumb injury, gets an opportunity. Spinners Shahbaz Nadeem, Jalaj Saxena and Krishnappa Gowtham did the damage in the Thiruvananthapuram game after pacers Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj had made early inroads into the South Africa A line-up. The home team’s bowling attack may witness some changes after Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav were drafted into the squad. — PTI

Big hitter

Rishabh Pant bats in the nets at IS Bindra PCA Stadium in Mohali on Monday. Pant was in the news on Sunday as India coach Ravi Shastri said that the young attacking batsman will be “rapped on the knuckles” if he keeps on getting out by playing rash shots. Captain Virat Kohli said: “The only expectation from Rishabh is that he read situations well. We don’t expect him to play the way you might be thinking. It is about analysing a situation and dealing with it in your own way.”

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