The in-form Prithvi Shaw on Monday took another step towards an India comeback after being named in the A squads for the tour of New Zealand. Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya, who has been recovering from a back injury, was included in the India A squad for three one-dayers and tour matches.
Shaw has been in sublime touch since returning from an eight-month doping ban last month. The youngster made a spectacular double hundred in Mumbai's Ranji Trophy-opener against Baroda.
Though India have a settled opening pair in Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agawal, 20-year-old Shaw could make the Test squad for the New Zealand series as a reserve opener.
After picking the India A squad for the tour of New Zealand, selection committee chairman MSK Prasad made it clear that they want Shaw to get as much "game time as possible".
Shaw had made a memorable Test debut last year, scoring a hundred against the West Indies in Rajkot.
Hanuma Vihari will captain India in the first-class games in New Zealand and Shubman Gill in the 50-over format.
Test specialists like R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma will get much needed match time in New Zealand ahead of the two-Test series, beginning in Wellington on February 21. The second Test will be played in Christchurch from February 29.
"As we have set the system, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mayank Agarwal will play the second A game," said Prasad.
The Indian squads for the limited overs home series against Sri Lanka and Australia were also announced here on Monday.
Pandya, who underwent a surgery in October, has been out of action since September due to a lower back injury.
The dashing all-rounder's back problems have persisted since the Asia Cup in 2018, the first time he complained of a stiff back. Since then the team management along with the selectors have monitored and managed his workload.
Provided he clears the India A test, he will be included in the senior team that will tour New Zealand for five T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Tests in the last week of January.
Pandya had earlier said he was targeting an international return during the tour of New Zealand.
India's New Zealand assignments will start with the T20 International in Eden Park on January 24.
"(As for) Hardik, we will have a look at him in the third week of January," chief selector MSK Prasad told reporters here.
Hanuma Vihari will captain the India A team in the first-class games in New Zealand and Shubman Gill in the 50-over format.
The first tour match will be played on January 17 and the three one-dayers will be played on January 22, 24 and 26.
India A squad for two tour matches and three one-day games: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill (Captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Axar Patel, Rahul Chahar, Sandeep Warrier, Ishan Porel, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohd. Siraj
India A squad for 1st four-day game: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shubman Gill, Hanuma Vihari (Captain), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Shivam Dube, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Sandeep Warrier, Avesh Khan, Mohd. Siraj, Ishan Porel, Ishan Kishan
India A squad for 2nd four-day game: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Hanuma Vihari (Captain), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Shivam Dube, R Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Warrier, Avesh Khan, Mohd. Siraj, Ishan Porel
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