Just a few days before India A’s series in Australia, the selectors made some last minute changes in the squad. Naman Ojha, the wicketkeeper-batsman who was set to lead the team in the quadrangular series , has been replaced by Manish Pandey, on Tuesday (August 2). According to a report in The New India Express, Ojha has been dropped from the squad and will travel to Australia only in September for the four-day games and surprisingly he was given no reason for such drastic decision. Ojha, who hit 219*, 101* and 110 in three successive innings when he was in Australia in 2014, even had his visa ready for the upcoming tour. The wicket-keeper batsman was even a part of the strength and conditioning camp for the India A squad from July 12-17 at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.
Ojha is not the only player to face the axe. The selectors have made a total of four changes to the initial squad. Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar, and Akhil Herwadkar are the other three players who have been dropped from the squad for the limited-overs series. These three were also part of the India A strength and conditioning camp. The trio has been replaced by Yuzvendra Chahal, Mandeep Singh, and Hardik Pandya. Looking at the replacement one can assume that the selectors want to give time to those players who are in contention for a berth in the Indian team. While Bumrah is a regular in the team, Pandey, Mandeep and Hardik have recently played for India. Pandey, who hit a century in the ODI series in Australia earlier this year, will lead the squad in the limited-overs leg while Ojha will take over during the four-day games.
“Selectors have made four changes in the team (India A) and now I will go only for the four-day matches. Mera naam hatake unhone four changes kiya hai (they’ve removed me and made four changes), I was told two days ago,” Ojha told the English daily.
The team will leave for Australia on August 4 while their coach Rahul Dravid will leave five days after the team lands there as he is going to spend some time with his ailing mother.
India A are scheduled to play Australia A, South Africa A, and Cricket Australia National Performance Squad in the quadrangular series, starting on August 13.
Squad for limited-overs series:
Manish Pandey, Faiz Fazal, Mandeep Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Karun Nair, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Barinder Sran, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sanju Samson.