Irrespective of the quality of the opposition, the Indian team selected for this tournament seems to be a fairly formidable side.
Team: Y. Venugopal Rao (captain), Robin Uthappa, Shikhar Dhawan, Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, S. Badrinath, Avishek Jhunjhunwala, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Shib Shankar Paul, Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Rudra Pratap Singh, VRV Singh, Piyush Chawla.
Rao, Robin and RP Singh are in the senior side which is scheduled to play against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on April 18 and 19. They will probably get to have some additional shopping time as they would have to stay back for this second string challenge.
Openers: Robin, Dhawan and Vidyut
Good to see the selectors stick to these players instead of being tempted to draft in someone like Pujara. Only two of them would probably be in the starting XI and Vidyut might be the one to miss out.
Middle Order: Rao, Badri, Avishek, Rohit, Sodhi
Sodhi gets a deserved second (third, fourth whatever) look after his good performances in the domestic ODIs this season. I'm excited about Avishek and would be interested in seeing how he fares in this tournament. He is touted to be the next Bengal hero and given Ganguly's chances at staging a comeback, young JhunJhunWala is Bengal's only hope. Rohit has been growing from strength to strength after the under-19 world cup (has left the likes of Pujara and Dhiman way behind) and is another exciting talent worth investing in. Rao is the skipper and if he doesn't get to play any international cricket in the next 15 days, he would be keen on putting on an impressive show. Badri has started featuring regularly in these A sides and he should start cashing in on these opportunities.
Wicket-Keeper: Dinesh Karthik
The wicket-keeper slot for the A sides seems to have become a sort of lottery between Parthiv and Dinesh these days. I don't think Karthik got the nod because of his middle-east connections (his dad works used to work somewhere in the middle-east)
Seamers: Paul, RP and VRV
The usual suspects. I would have preferred someone else, Nabi maybe, instead of RP Singh. RP is a regular fixture in the senior squad (though he hasn't been a regular in the XI lately) and it would have been nice to try someone else out.
Spinners: Jadeja (left-arm orthodox) and Piyush (leg-spin)
Both of them played in the under-19 world cup earlier this year (with Piyush going on to make his test debut) and they are both quite adept with the bat as well.
Labels: Euro-Asia 'A' Cup