Mumbai: The absence of several players on international duty has opened up places for Unmukt Chand and Mandeep Singh in the India A squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.
With Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Ashok Dinda busy during the tour of New Zealand, the selectors have drafted in a slew of new faces. The notable inclusion is that of current Under-19 captain Unmukt, whose form at the junior level has been very impressive of late, and Punjab's Mandeep who was a star performer in the fifth season of the IPL. This is the first time the two youngsters have been selected in a senior India side.
Baroda's Ambati Rayudu has been named in the squad, while those to be dropped are Delhi opener Shikhar Dhawan, Bengal wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and Robin Bist, the highest run-getter in the 2011-12 Ranji Trophy. Madhya Pradesh's Naman Ojha has been named as the wicketkeeper.
With Pujara being called back into India's Test squad, Abhinav Mukund, the Tamil Nadu opener, has been named captain of India A. Rajasthan’s Ashok Menaria is the vice-captain.
Anustup Majumdar, the Bengal opener, has been included in the squad after a strong domestic season. Rahul Sharma has been named after being overlooked for the Indian Test and Twenty20 teams. Mumbai allrounder Suryakumar Yadav. Saurashtra fast bowler Jaydev Unadkar and Rajasthan's Rituraj Singh are the other new faces.
From the side that toured the West Indies, Mukund, Jalaj Saxena, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Akshay Darekar and Shami Ahmed have been retained.
India A squad: Abhinav Mukund (capt), Ashok Menaria, Naman Ojha (wk), Mandeep Singh, Anustup Majumdar, Ambati Rayudu, Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Akshay Darekar. Vinay Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Suryakumar Yadav, Jalaj Saxena, Rahul Sharma, Rituraj Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, Unmukt Chand