India news August 16, 2013

Duncan Fletcher to tour with India A

ESPNcricinfo staff

Duncan Fletcher, India's head coach, will tour with India A for both of their unofficial four-day Tests in South Africa. The two matches are scheduled to be played in Rustenburg between August 17 and 20, and Pretoria between August 24 and 27. India A recently won a one-day tri-series also featuring A teams from Australia and South Africa.

Cheteshwar Pujara, the India A captain, was optimistic about his side's chances ahead of the two Tests. "Winning the ODI series has given us a confidence boost going into the four-day series," Pujara said. "We played really well throughout that series, except for a couple of close games against Australia that we lost."

South Africa A had an indifferent ODI series, finishing bottom of the table with just one win in four matches. Their captain, Justin Ontong, said it was vital that his team regrouped and moved on.

"We had a disappointing ODI series but in saying that I still think we played good cricket," Ontong said. "It was particularly hard for the bowlers on those sort of decks, but I think we took a lot of lessons from that experience.

"We are in a very good space as a unit," he said. "Our four-day disciplines are where we want them to be. We are encountering new opposition, so it is a new challenge for us, and also a new opportunity for players to put in some noteworthy performances."

Both captains expect dry, bowler-friendly conditions, a change from the placid pitches at the LC de Villiers Oval in Pretoria that produced tall totals in the one-dayers. "If it turns, it will be helpful for us because we are used to playing in turning conditions," Pujara said. "But let's see how it will turn out. We know conditions in South Africa normally suit the fast bowlers. We will have a better idea of our playing XI once they have trained in the conditions."

Ontong, who is better acquainted with the local wickets, said, "We know this type of wicket is different from the HPC (Pretoria) wicket. As a batsman, you are never in. The seamers and spinners are always in the game. It's going to be a huge challenge for the batsmen to construct their innings and put on big scores. Patience is going to be the key."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 19, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    ICC has to change the "A" team selection criteria. If a player has represented respective national team he should not be ineligible for "A" team selection. "A" teams should target only fringe & future budding players. Only then Cricket boards' would refrain from treating it as practice matches at the expense of future talents.

  • Praveen on August 19, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    DK is better than Pujara if given chances! Let us see how Pujara copes up this december.

  • Android on August 18, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    @Blade Runner.... where are you? you seem to have vanished

  • ANAND on August 17, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    I just keep getting more and more impressed with India's current selection panel. This selection panel has been almost on the spot with most of their decisions since they have taken over. Credit goes to the entire panel, not just to Sandip Patil who has been a very good coach before for Kenya, leading them to WC semis in 2003.

    I have a very optimistic feeling that India is going to scare SA a lot this year end when they meet for the test series.

  • Android on August 17, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Pujara proved his class again, he and Kohli are the real solid bats in Indian Lineup. Rest have to really fight it out in November

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    @Blade-Runner. You could have easily checked the background of the bower who got Shikhar out, and avoided the embarrassment for yourself. A good lesson for those who shoot their mouth off, too fast, in all their excitement!

  • binu on August 17, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    Dhawan out to an off break bowler not to any swing or seam bowling we know how well he bat against off break bowlers usualy , one rare failure some people will be very active, funny ,very funny ...just bother about your new players we know how WELL they are playing!

  • vikram on August 17, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    @Blade Runner: It just so happens that the bowler that Dhawan got out to was a spinner and not a seamer so your analysis about Dhawan's inability to play in seaming conditions comes to naught.

  • GAURAV on August 17, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Just a one failure and critics are out. Give me another example where dhawan failed on a grassy surface in his international career. You are in too much hurry and it will not get you anywhere.

  • travis on August 17, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    I seriously hope DK get a chance in the 2nd unofficial test. lets be honest. Dhoni will be here for atleast another 5 years so the only way DK or saha can get into the team is for the elusive number 6 spot of dada, meant for specialist batsmen.

    we need to see both of them in these important test format matches.