New Delhi: Looks like Karun Nair will have to wait before he finds a place in the Indian Test team. Having scored a triple hundred against England in Chennai last year, Nair was the talk of the town. But since then, his scores have read 26, 0, 23 and 5 in the three Test matches that he played for India against Australia. While questions have been raised on his flop show, he has now been named in the India ‘A’ squad for the tri-series against Australia ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ in South Africa.
Nair is a part of the one-day team that will be led by Manish Pandey and has some of the top performers in the IPL this season in Krunal Pandya, Basil Thampi, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Siddarth Kaul. Interestingly, Rishabh Pant has been named the wicket-keeper for the series. The dates clash with the start of the Test series in Sri Lanka. India play Sri Lanka in the first Test from July 26 in Kandy. The one-day tri-series starts on July 26 and will be played till August 8.
More importantly, Nair has also been named skipper of the team which will play two four-day games against South Africa ‘A’. While the first game will be played from August 12 to 15, the second one will be played from August 19-22.
Speaking to CricketNext, former India chief selector Kiran More said that the move does not necessarily mean that Nair will be dropped for the Test series against Sri Lanka. "I don't think that is the case. He can always be called up for the Test team and someone else can be named to replace him. I do understand your point that the 'A' series to South Africa is clashing with the Test series in Sri Lanka, but there is no reason to feel that the selectors are looking to ignore him for the Test series. Also, if Nair does go ahead and travel with the 'A' team, it is good for his confidence," he said.
But then, it is different to be named in a squad and then be replaced due to senior team commitments and to be named skipper of the 'A' team even though the senior team is set to tour at the same time. While Nair sat out the first Test against Australia as Ajinkya Rahane returned to the team after missing the Chennai Test against England, Nair was back in the team for the second Test against the Aussies in place of Jayant Yadav as Virat Kohli felt the need to boost the batting after a humiliating loss in the first Test in Pune.
India meanwhile will be playing the second Test from August 4-8 in Galle and the third Test from August 12-16.
The four-day team also has some quality domestic performers in Priyank Panchal, Sudip Chatterjee, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Shahbaz Nadeem and Navdeep Saini.
Squads: Tri-Series: Mandeep Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Manish Pandey (Captain), Deepak Hooda, Karun Nair, Krunal Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Vijay Shankar, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jayant Yadav, Basil Thampi, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Siddarth Kaul.
Four-day Team: PK Panchal, Abhinav Mukund, Shreyas Iyer, Ankit Bawne, Karun Nair (Captain), Sudip Chatterjee, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hanuma Vihari, Jayant Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Aniket Choudhary, Ankit Rajpoot.
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