India’s tour of Australia begins with three Twenty20 Internationals, starting with the first match in Brisbane. However, Virat Kohli’s side will be determined to break their overseas rut, especially in Test matches following series losses in South Africa and England. The first Test begins on December 6 in Adelaide and India are determined to win their first-ever Test series Down Under. In view of this, the BCCI has decided to give high priority to players who have been selected only in the Test squad and who were part of the India A squad in the recently-concluded game against New Zealand A in Mount Maunganui.
In a statement released by the BCCI, assistant coach Sanjay Bangar and training assistant Nuwan have left for Sydney to train Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane. The players will begin their training on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Shaw, Vihari, Rahane and Vijay were all part of the India A squad during the unofficial four-day Test against New Zealand A which began on November 16.
Shaw, who scored a century on Test debut against West Indies in Rajkot, once again impressed with two fifties (62 and 50). Vijay failed in the first innings but responded with a confident 60 in the second innings. Vihari, who hit an impressive fifty in tough conditions against England at The Oval in September, also hit two fifties (86 and 51*). Rahane, who was the captain of the India A side, had scores of 12 and an unbeaten 41.
The match between India A and New Zealand A at Mount Maunganui ended in a draw but India’s batsmen put on a solid show. For New Zealand A, Hamish Rutherford blasted a century while Dane Cleaver hit a fifty. However, India would be worried that their bowlers could not run through the tail, with Seth Rance and Blair Tickner frustrating India with an unbeaten partnership of 83 for the final wicket as the match ended in a draw.
Shaw and Vihari will be looking to make an impression in Australia while Rahane had a good tour in 2014/15, scoring a century in Melbourne. Vijay also had a great start to the tour, scoring 68, 99 and 144 in the Tests in Adelaide and Brisbane.
India will play Tests in Adelaide and at the new Perth stadium while Kohli’s side will highlight the Australian summer with the traditional Boxing Day and New Year Tests in Melbourne and Sydney.