RCA President's XI v England XI, Jaipur March 24, 2006

Solanki leads England in one-day warm-up


Vikram Solanki pads up in the nets at Jaipur © Getty Images
Much is at stake when an RCA President's XI takes on a buoyed English side in Jaipur on Saturday in what will be the only practice game before the seven-match ODI series starts on Tuesday.

England, who are without their inspirational captain Andrew Flintoff - who is gone home for a couple of days to see his new-born son - are keen to maintain their winning momentum while the youngsters in the home side will try hard to make an impression on the selectors ahead of the one-dayers.

The drubbing in Mumbai has served as a wake-up call to the national selectors who will be present to assess the performance of players like Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina. The injury-enforced absence of Sachin Tendulkar from the Indian squad has thrown up a slot for a youngster to come in, and it will be interesting to see who finally fills his shoes.

The injury scare concerning Virender Sehwag, who played with a back spasm in Mumbai, has also forced the selectors to look at the bench strength, although he has been named in the 15-member one-day squad.

The English team, to be led by Vikram Solanki, had a strenuous workout in the nets today after arriving in the Pink City last night, while the RCA squad was still gathering.

One player in the local side who will attract the spotlight is the former Indian international and current Rajasthan captain Ajay Jadeja. This will be his first outing against an international side since he successfully fought a five-year ban slapped on him by the BCCI for match-fixing related allegations.

The game also gives an opportunity to promising youngsters like V Shivramakrishnan, who hit a brilliant hundred in Deodhar Trophy, and Jaidev Shah to test their prowess against quality opposition. However, Rajasthan players Dishant Yagnik, Vikrant Yadav, Pankaj Singh and Sanjay Gill may struggle to make it into the final XI.

England squad Vikram Solanki (capt), Andrew Strauss, Owais Shah, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Geraint Jones, Matt Prior, Liam Plunkett, Ian Blackwell, Matthew Hoggard, Kabir Ali, James Anderson, Gareth Batty, Sajid Mahmood

RCA President's XI squad Gautam Gambhir, V Shivaramakrishnan, Ajay Jadeja (capt), Venugopal Rao, Suresh Raina, Mohammad Kaif, Parthiv Patel, Ramesh Powar, VRV Singh, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla, Rohit Sharma, Pankaj Singh, Sanjay Gill, Dishant Yagnik, Jaidev Shah, Vikrant Yadav