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KL Rahul picked for India A's four-day game; Bawne to lead

Ankit Bawne goes for the sweep ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Ankit Bawne will lead India A in their first four-day game against England Lions, which is scheduled to begin on February 7 in Wayanad. Bawne led India in the fourth unofficial ODI against Lions in Ajinkya Rahane's absence on Tuesday. KL Rahul finds a place in the squad, as does long-time domestic performer Jalaj Saxena, who gets into an India A squad for the first time since 2013. The Kerala allrounder averages 44.00 with the bat and 20.41 with the ball over his last two first-class seasons, with 73 wickets in 17 matches.

Gujarat's Priyank Panchal (898 runs in nine matches) and Bengal's Abhimanyu Easwaran (861 runs in six matches) are the two openers besides Rahul, and are the batsmen in the squad with most runs in the ongoing Ranji season.

Other players rewarded for their Ranji form are Andhra's Ricky Bhui (775 runs in eight matches), Madhya Pradesh fast bowler Avesh Khan (35 wickets in seven matches), and Punjab legspinner Mayank Markande (29 wickets in six matches). This is the first India A call-up for all three of them.

Karun Nair, who captained India A in their last red-ball series in New Zealand, has been dropped from the squad, as have his Karnataka team-mates R Samarth and K Gowtham, who were among the top performers on that tour. The trio endured poor bouts of form after returning to the Ranji Trophy. Other notable names not in the squad are Vijay Shankar and Shubman Gill, who are currently with India's ODI squad in New Zealand.

India A squad for first four-day game: Ankit Bawne (capt), KL Rahul, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Priyank Panchal, Ricky Bhui, Siddhesh Lad, KS Bharat (wk), Jalaj Saxena, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mayank Markande, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Avesh Khan, Varun Aaron