Raj, David and Sharma rested from Challengers
International players Mithali Raj, Jaya Sharma and Neetu David have opted out of the tournament to work on their fitness at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore
Nooshin Al Khadeer: "I honestly don't know why I was not picked for the earlier tours but right now I am concentrating on the Challenger games"
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International players Mithali Raj, Jaya Sharma and Neetu David have opted out of the tournament to work on their fitness at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore. The season-opening Challenger Trophy, which features three teams and includes probables for the Australia tour, is scheduled between September 21-24 in Ahmedabad.
"I have some niggling injuries to deal with," Raj told Cricinfo. "I didn't want to aggravate them before the tour of Australia so I have come to the NCA to be monitored by the experts here."
Raj, who led India in their 4-0 defeat in the ODIs in England earlier this month, said the team will not just have to work harder but also alter their preparations for the Australia series. Sharma, nursing a shoulder injury from before the England tour, is also undergoing rehabilitation. With Raj out, Jhulan Goswami, India's vice-captain, will lead the India Seniors side, which includes spinners Priyanka Roy and Pujare Seema and batsman Asha Rawat.
Among those hopeful to catch the selectors' eye is offspinner Nooshin Al Khadeer, overlooked for the Asia Cup and the series in England, who will play under Rumeli Dhar in the India A side. "I honestly don't know why I was not picked for the earlier tours but right now I am concentrating on the Challenger games after training for three weeks with my bowling coach. This break has made me mentally stronger."
Nooshin, who needs four wickets to become the third Indian woman to cross 100 wickets in ODIs, said the Australian tour would be tough despite the hosts losing Cathryn Fitzpatrick to retirement last year. "They have very talented young bowlers like Ellyse Perry and the Blackwell sisters are doing well with the bat as well. Last time we toured Australia, we lost the Test and ODI series and after this year's defeat in England, everyone has to prove their place in the squad."
Karuna Jain, Anjum Chopra and Preeti Dimri, who weren't part of the England tour, get a chance to impress the selectors and are part of the India B side captained by Amita Sharma.
India Senior: Jhulan Goswami (capt), Anagha Deshpande (wk), Monica Sumra, Asha Rawat, Priyanka Roy, Pujare Seema, Gouher Sultana, Apurva Kokil, Shweta Jadhav, VR Vanitha, Anureet Kaur, Lalita Sharma, Swaroopa Kadam
India A: Rumeli Dhar (capt), Sulakshna Naik (wk), Thirush Kamini, Hemlata Kala, Diana David, Nooshin Al Khadeer, Shashi Malik, Niranjana Nagarajan, Pallavi Bharadwaj, Sindhu Ashok, Reema Malhotra, Nitu Jaiswal, Neha Majhi
India B: Amita Sharma (capt), Karuna Jain (wk), Gurdeep Kaur, Poonam Raut, Anjum Chopra, Devika Palshikar, Rajeshwari Goel, Preeti Dimri, Snehal Pradhan, Latika Kumari, Amrita Shinde, Harmanpreet Kaur, Archana Das