Injury scare for Sehwag
Preparing for his first first-class game since being dropped from the Test side, Virender Sehwag gave everyone an injury scare in Shimoga. After hitting everybody in the spinners' nets around, Sehwag was hit by the first ball of pace he faced, a nippy delivery from Dhawal Kulkarni. Immediately the bat went out of the hand, off came the gloves, and on his knees Sehwag began to tend to his right index finger.
To allay fears of a serious injury, Sehwag got up about an hour later and batted in the spinners nets again. Cheteshwar Pujara, the India A captain, said Sehwag had looked fine when he batted again, but he wasn't sure if Sehwag would need a precautionary x-ray. While Pujara might not assure you of Sehwag's availability as India A try to erase the 1-0 deficit in the three-unofficial-Test series, he gave enough hints that Sehwag might bat in the middle order. Asked specifically about opening options, Pujara pointed out they had Kerala's VA Jagadeesh too.
Similar uncertainty hung around the star attraction in the West Indies A side, Fidel Edwards, who has not played a first-class game in nearly a year. He has been drafted in after injury to Sheldon Cotterrell. His namesake and captain, Kirk Edwards, said "we have to wait and see" when asked if Fidel Edwards would play.
Four-day pitches are not ideal for results, and A tours are usually seen as ones to get good long innings and spells under your belt. Leading 1-0 in the series, West Indies A can afford to think so more than India A can. "A huge part of A-team cricket is about developing players and stuff like that," Kirk Edwards said, "but at the same time when you play a cricket game it is always good to win. So if you can do both at the same times, that's brilliant."
Pujara and India A want to win. The return of Zaheer Khan, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir is going to hog the headlines, but Pujara is hurting both from the loss in Mysore and his own twin failure. "I had a good series against South Africa but I was disappointed with how I got out in both the innings in the last game," Pujara said. "I always like to score runs in each and every game I play. Now I am focusing on this series, and I want to perform in this game."
We don't know how the pitch will behave, but going by how the practice strips behaved and a few overcast spells during the day, scoring the runs Pujara wants might not be the easiest. "It looks a good wicket, and whatever we saw in the practice pitches, there was a bit of help for the fast bowlers," Pujara said.
India A: Cheteshwar Pujara (capt.), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sheldon Jackson, Abhishek Nayar, Paras Dogra, Uday Kaul (wk), Parveez Rasool, Bhargav Bhatt, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zaheer Khan, Ishwar Pandey, Mohammed Shami, Mohammad Kaif, VA Jagadeesh
West Indies A: Kirk Edwards (capt.), Kieran Powell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Ashley Nurse, Miguel Cummings, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Jahmer Hamilton, Delorn Johnson, Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Veerasammy Permaul, Chadwick Walton (wk), Fidel Edwards
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo