A contest with plenty at stake
In his blog on the Guardian website, Dileep Premachandran looks at Australia A's tour to India and says it's unlike other similar contests, with many players in with a chance to make it the to the face-off between the senior sides later in the year.
A team games not involving Hannibal, BA Baracus, Murdock and Face tend to be pretty mundane affairs. Fans weaned on a steady diet of international cricket tend to treat them as a Premier League supporter does a League One game, and the players themselves are motivated by different things. For the young and ambitious teenager, it's a chance to press his claim to be the next Tendulkar, Ponting or Wasim. These days though, with U-19 games and tournaments so common, many of these tyros take the escalator straight to the top, ignoring the A team staircase altogether. For most on the wrong side of 25, unless you're an Australian with the initials MEKH, the A team call-up is usually a sop, a reward for steady domestic performances for those who lack the X-factor that separates the merely good from the exceptional.
Mathew Varghese is sub-editor (stats) at Cricinfo