Priyank Panchal Likely to Lead India A, Ajinkya Rahane to Play Duleep Trophy

Gujarat opener Priyank Panchal is likely to lead India A in three four-day ‘Tests’ against New Zealand A, beginning in Bengaluru from September 1.

While the national selection committee chaired by Chetan Sharma will be meeting on Monday to announce the red and white ball ‘A’ teams for the New Zealand series, it is learnt that former India captain Ajinkya Rahane’s comeback to competitive cricket will happen in Duleep Trophy.

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Rahane sustained a groin injury during last IPL and had undergone intense rehabilitation with his international career at cross roads after being overlooked in the Test squad.

“Rahane hasn’t played any cricket of late and hence straightaway the selectors won’t put him in India A with lot of performers waiting. I think he will play for West Zone in Duleep Trophy and take it from thereon,” a senior BCCI official privy to developments told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

It is understood that Rahane is not in the scheme of things for the Bangladesh tour in December but a good Ranji Trophy season might just bring him back in the mix for the big home series against Australia.

It has also been learnt that Rahane has committed to play full season for Mumbai in the domestic season and will lead the side.

Players who went for ‘A’ tour in South Africa to get preference

Panchal, who led India A in South Africa, is likely to be entrusted with the duty again.

“Panchal is currently playing for Chemplast in Chennai in some friendly games as he needed practice and it is currently monsoon in Gujarat,’ a senior GCA official confirmed the development.

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Since he led the team well, there is little chance of him being changed although Hanuma Vihari is also likely to be picked and will be the senior-most player in the pack.

The likes of Abhimanyu Easwaran, Baba Aparajith, Upendra Yadav, Saurabh Kumar and K S Bharat are all set to be a part of the red ball squad.

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