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Can Krunal Pandya and Deepak Chahar break into the India XI?

Deepak Chahar and Krunal Pandya have earned call-ups to the national team already, while Agarwal, Shaw and Gill have advanced their cases

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Deepak Chahar and Krunal Pandya will be the first beneficiaries of the Indian team management's planning for a long season of away tours.
Injuries to Jasprit Bumrah and Washington Sundar have meant that the two uncapped players, part of India A's 50-overs side currently in England, could possibly earn their India caps during the T20Is in England, after being summoned as replacements. Both Chahar and Krunal will join the Indian team on Monday, immediately after their tri-series final against England Lions at The Oval.
Who have been the other key performers for India A? Who didn't capitalise on their chances? Did the Under-19 boys step up? Here's a ready reckoner:
Once a reject at his state trials for not being tall enough, the 25-year old has picked up 13 wickets in five matches on his first tour with India A. That includes a best of 5 for 27 against West Indies A in a List A game.
Prior to this, he emerged as one of Chennai Super Kings' key new-ball bowlers in their triumphant 2018 season, picking up 10 wickets in 12 matches, a majority of those in the Powerplay. With Bumrah injured and Bhuvneshwar Kumar a certainty, he will have to tussle with Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul for a slot in the Indian XI.
He's been a consistent lower middle-order batsman for Mumbai Indians since 2016, and hit the high notes in the final last year, top-scoring with 47 and then helping defend a modest 129 against Rising Pune Supergiant.
Five innings on this tour have fetched him 41 runs, 34 of which came in his first outing. Krunal put on a partnership of 99 for the sixth wicket with Ishan Kishan as India A beat an ECB XI by 125 runs. With the ball, he's picked up three wickets, with an economy rate of 4.87 across 40.5 overs.
Virat Kohli is often happy with five proper bowling options in the XI, but that leaves no room for anyone to have an off day. But if Krunal gets into the team, not only could he help with finishing an innings, he also gives India a few overs of tight left-arm spin. Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik are his closest competitors for a spot at No. 6.
There isn't much wrong he can do currently, having smashed three hundreds in five innings on his first England tour. But he is an opening batsman and India have plenty of those with KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma already in the squad.
Agarwal has bounced back well from a below-par IPL season with Kings XI Punjab, which speaks well of his hunger and resolve. The selectors are slowly starting to look at him as an all-format player as well considering he has been picked to play three four-day games against England Lions and West Indies A.
Already part of the ODI squad, Iyer is the only India A top-order batsman who doesn't have a half-century in the tri-series so far. He made 54 in a tour game against an ECB XI, but has tapered off since. His three most recent knocks read: 0, 6 and 1.
Both his fifties for India have come at No. 3, but it's a position he's unlikely to get on a regular basis with Kohli occupying that spot. Will India then try him out at No. 4?
Given his IPL form, Ambati Rayudu would have been a certainty, but his ouster on fitness grounds could translate into a lucky break for Iyer. He could still be left tussling with Karthik for one specialist batting slot.
The Under-19 stars
Two centuries and a half-century in five innings so far have made Prithvi Shaw a certainty when South Africa A and Australia A visit India. With a consistent run since IPL 2018, not to forget a first-class average of 56.22, Shaw has emerged as more than just an Under-19 star. There is an overseas tour of New Zealand likely for India A in the summer, and he will be in the reckoning for that too.
Shubman Gill, who has three half-centuries in four innings on tour, is in the same space. And the circumstances were different in each of those knocks. In the first, he walked out with the openers having set the foundation with a 221-run stand and struck 86 off 54 balls.
In the next, he played second fiddle to a rampaging Agarwal in a 148-run stand. In the third, when he was promoted to open in his most recent outing, he combined with Agarwal to make 72 in a 165-run stand.
If both Shaw and Gill can keep the same form going into the first-class leg of the tour, of which they are a part, they'll have made even bigger strides towards knocking on the national team's doors.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo