MS Dhoni to lead India A in 1st Warm up Match against England XI

MS Dhoni to lead India A in 1st Warm up Match against England XI

England XI

Ever since Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s sudden decision to hand over limited-overs captaincy to Virat Kohli came about, there’s been a raging sense of expectation from the masses to watch the once-carefree batsman revert to default mode. The unimaginable pressures of leading India across formats through various ups and downs – more the former – has definitely contributed in adding wisdom to his game, and the greys to his beard. The Dhoni of the long, straight and brown-dyed hair seems almost from a different era. And yet, the expectation has somehow returned, in what could be the start of the epilogue of a colossal career. Check here India vs England 2016 Schedule, Results & Other Match Highlights

The spotlight will also shine on Ajinkya Rahane when he leads the A side in the second warm-up match on Thursday (January 12). Rahane’s Test career has seen a steady graph over the years, but his limited-overs chart has witnessed constant wavering. After ordinary returns in the five-match ODI series against New Zealand, Rahane’s fight is to latch onto the spot at the top of the order. With Dhawan and KL Rahul fit again, Rahane’s battle is rather uphill. A big knock on Thursday could cut him some slack.

T20I trials and the fringe rewards

Suresh Raina also finds himself in a flimsy position. The 30-year-old had earned a recall to the Indian side for the New Zealand ODIs in October 2016, 12 months since he had last played 50-overs cricket, but was resigned to the sidelines owing to illness. He recovered and made a swift comeback in Uttar Pradesh’s 220-run win over Railways, recording identical scores of 91 across two innings but hasn’t been given the chance to fit into a congested middle-order in the ODIs. The lifeline extended to him is in T20Is, a format he is better-equipped in. He too could benefit from a notable performance on Thursday.

The 1st Warm up Match against England XI on Tuesday will also serve as an indicator of Ashish Nehra’s fitness. The 37-year-old resurrected his international career last year, albeit in T20Is, and his form and intensity over a 10-over spell will go a long way in aiding his selection during the T20I series. Rishabh Pant, Mandeep Singh and Yuzvendra Chahal also have opportunities to turn heads during the A games.

The Indian cricket board has also picked domestic circuit performers like Shahbaz Nadeem, Vinay Kumar Parvez Rasool and Ashoke Dinda, to name a few, for the two matches, perhaps as a token of appreciation, and to send across a message that they’re on the fringes of the national side. The likes of Ishan Kishan, Sheldon Jackson and even Sanju Samson, whose ordinary domestic season was marred by controversy, have also been handed what appears to be a vote of confidence.

India A team for 1st warm-up tie against England XI : Shikhar Dhawan, Mandeep Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (Captain), Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Siddarth Kaul

India A team for 2nd warm-up tie against England XI: Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Suresh Raina, Deepak Hooda, Ishan Kishan, Sheldon Jackson, Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Parvez Rasool, Vinay Kumar, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashoke Dinda

 

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