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Rahul, Shardul Thakur named in India A side for first 4-day match against England Lions

Opener KL Rahul will be playing for India A in their first unofficial Test against England Lions to be held in Wayanad from February 7-10.

The 14-member squad led by Maharashtra’s Ankit Bawne also features Jharkhand fast bowler Varun Aaron, who last wore national colours way back in 2015 in a rain-marred Test match against South Africa in Bengaluru.

Statistically, Aaron with 25 wickets from seven Ranji Trophy matches, hasn’t had an exceptional season but as per sources close to selection committee, the once injury-prone Jharkhand speedster will be monitored in order to broaden the fast bowling pool.

That’s the reason that two tearaway quicks in veteran Aaron and young Avesh Khan have found berth along with Shardul Thakur, who is coming back from a long lay-off and current A team regular Navdeep Saini.

The team doesn’t have too many surprises as most of the domestic performers have found their place in the squad.

All-rounder Jalaj Saxena, after another good season is now back in the A team mix , while Siddhesh Lad has also been rewarded for his consistent show over the past few seasons.

Incidentally, legendary Sunil Gavaskar in one of his recent columns had questioned about Lad being repeatedly ignored by the selection committee for various A team assignments. Openers Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran along with middle-order batsman Ricky Bhui and leg-spinner Mayank Markande have all got the nod.

The squad doesn’t contain any top performers from either Saurashtra or Vidarbha, as the Ranji Trophy final will only get over on February 7.

India A squad: Ankit Bawne (Captain), KL Rahul, AR Easwaran, Priyank Panchal, Ricky Bhui, Siddhesh Lad, K.S. Bharat (WK), Jalaj Saxena, S Nadeem, Mayank Markande, Navdeep Saini, Sharadul Thakur, Avesh Khan, Varun Aaron.

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