Mumbai, Feb 16:
All-rounder Hardik Pandya will like to make a case for himself in Test match selection as he leads a talented bunch of India A players against Australia in a three-day warm-up game acting as pre-cursor to the series opener, starting February 23.
Hardik, who has been dubbed as a limited overs expert, has improved as a seamer and a good show against the visitors may force skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble to keep him in their plans when they sit around for a discussion on playing during first two Test matches.
Against a quality side like Australia, the performers at the domestic level will get a chance to test themselves against the likes of Josh Hazlewood or Mitchell Starc if Steve Smith and Darren Lehmann decides to give them a few overs.
Opener Priyank Panchal of Gujarat, who has had a phenomenal season backed up by a century against Bangladesh in the previous warm-up game will also like to remain in selector’s radar for the slot of reserve opener.
This is the only practice game for the visitors and they would like to make full use of it with batsmen getting some good time out there in the middle and bowlers loosening up with some overs.
The home team has some other exciting young players such as the hard-hitting ex-India U-19 World Cup batsmen Rishabh Pant of Delhi and Ishan Kishan who were part of North and East Zones in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Inter-Zonals at the nearby Wankhede Stadium.
Both can keep wickets as well as bat flamboyantly but it’s Jharkhand’s Kishan, who led the country in the Junior World Cup last year in Bangladesh, who has been chosen as the wicket keeper for the game. (PTI)