India A tri series ended recently and India A won it convicingly. A tri series is played to find out future stars of cricket. BCCI, CSA & CA has come together to organise this A tri series. This year it was organised in India and all the matches were played in Chennai. All three teams had some international players surrounded by upcoming talent. Each team had its moments in the series. Let’s see how they performed.
Australia A was led by Usman Khwaja. Australia being Australia was dominant through out the tournament. In the whole tournament Australia A lost only one game and that was final of the tournament. Almost all the players of Australia A had been part of their international side. Someone might have played only t20s or only tests but they had played for Australia. So they were here to prove their worth. As far as Australia A’s batting is concerned Joe Burns and skipper Khawaja were sensation. It was tough for India A and South Africa A to get them out early. Burns, Khwaja & Wade were the centurions for Australia A in the tournament. Australian players has always struggled against the turn but Burns and Khwaja were playing it with ease. Burns got an international call after his superb show on Indian soil. He will play against England & Ireland in an upcoming ODI series.
Australia A’s bowling line-up was full of fierce tall fast bowlers and very young spinners. Coulter-Nile, Sandhu and Pattinson were tall and fast but the star of their bowling line-up was Ashton Agar. He picked up 12 wickets in 5 matches. He also picked up 5 wicket haul against India A. Sandhu, Coulter-Nile and Zampa had their moments in the series but they were not as consistent as Agar. Spinners always get help from the Indian pitches and Agar made most of it. Agar is also being picked up in Australia’s ODI squad along with Burns. The way Australia A was playing in the tournament I thought they will win this tri series easily but India A was better than them in the final.
South Africa A
If we go by experience then South Africa A was the most inexperienced side in the tournament. They had players like Elgar, De Kock, Tsotsobe, Parnell and Hendriks (Reeza & Beuran) who has played international cricket but they hadn’t played much in India before. South Africans are known for their fighting spirit. So I was expecting some brilliant performances. On the contrary South Africa A didn’t win even a single game in the tournament. De Kock was the only centurion for them in the tri series. He scored two centuries in the series but apart from him no one was able to get close to a hundred. If any batsman impressed me apart from De Kock was Zondo. He is a clean striker of cricket ball and definitely a future prospect for South Africa.
South Africa A’s bowling performance was even more pathetic. Tsotsobe was the highest wicket taker for them and he picked up only 5 wickets in the whole tournament. Parnell who has played lot of IPL matches here was not been able to take even a single wicket in the series. Spinners Leie & Keshav Maharaj were not upto the mark but part timer Elgar picked up the three wickets. They had all the problems in the series. They were not able to adapt to the conditions well. In one of the matches vs India A their 8 players were hospitalised because of stomach problem. The match reached to a stage where Rahul Dravid sent Mandeep Singh as a substitute of De Kock. Not only that Rahul Dravid changed the schedule of the tournament so that South African players get time to recover from that. When you have a coach like Rahul Dravid then you are bound to see such sportsmanship. It was a forgettable tournament for South Africa A.
Half of the India A side had no international experience but they were playing in India and they were being coached by the great Rahul Dravid. Moreover all of them were doing pretty well in IPL. Thus the expectations were high from them. Unmukt Chand led that group and Karun Nair was his deputy. All the players selected in the side were performing consistently in domestic cricket and IPL. Despite playing at home India A saw lots of ups and downs in the tournament. India A was not dominant side as Australia A was outplaying them on every occasion before the final. India A’s batting line-up was strongest in the tournament. Mayank Agarwal was the highest socrer in the series with 409 runs. He scored 2 centuries and both were against South Africa A. Mayank Agarwal has matured as a batsman overtime. He used to give his wicket away after getting the start but now he has learnt to value his wicket. Apart from him Manish Pandey scored a century in the tournament for India A. Manish Pandey recently made an impressive debut for India in Zimbabwe and he played upto his potential in the tri series.
Unmukt Chand also played well with 3 half centuries. On one of the occasions he got out on 90 against South Africa A. In the bowling department both the spinners Axar Patel & Karn Sharma were the highlight. Axar & Karn picked up 8 & 7 wickets respectively in the torunament. Among the quicks Rishi Dhawan picked up 5 wickets. India A was dominating South Africa A in the series but was outplayed Australia A until the final. In the final India A restricted Australia A to 226 with the help of superb bowling effort. Australia A came back into the match by picking up 4 quick wickets after a good start by India A. Then one man rose to the occasion & took India A home. That man was Gurkeerat. Gurkeerat Singh Mann was unbeaten on 87 at the end of the match. He was under pressure and it was not an easy job against the dominating team like Australia. Moreover it was a final. Gurkeerat played a splendid innings and snatched the tri series trophy from the jaws of Australia A. In this way India A won the India A tri series.
A tri series is organised to find out the future prospects for the international side. Every team tests its bench strength through A tri series. It provides an international exposure to domestic players. I am sure all the teams would have found their future prospects from this tri series as we are already seeing players are getting selected into the international side from these A teams.