India A vs New Zealand A: Cloud, few silver linings

Sep 06 2013, 12:22 IST
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Dhawal Kulkarni took four wickets in the match against New Zealand A at Visakhapatnam Dhawal Kulkarni took four wickets in the match against New Zealand A at Visakhapatnam
SummaryVijay Zol, Manprit Juneja bright spots in an otherwise average showing by India A.

As bad light drew the penultimate day of the second unofficial Test to a close, Sanjay Bangar had admitted to have been caught in a quandary. With India A still not having completed their first innings, the coach claimed to have been left scratching his head with regard to finding a formula for resuscitating the fast-fading contest and ensure that the fourth day wasn't reduced to a mere formality.

Thankfully for Bangar and probably almost everyone involved with the four-day contest, the weather intervened at an opportune time to bring the match to a close with clouds engulfing the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam. By then New Zealand A had cruised along to 176/3 in their second innings on a pitch that looked set to remain placid for a few days more. All this, after Manprit Juneja had agonisingly fallen seven runs short of a double-ton.

As he would have sat down later in the evening to evaluate his team's showing over the past week, Bangar, in his first coaching assignment at the senior level, is sure to have been pushed into chewing the cud for quite a while. He wouldn't have been the only one though. The two selectors, chairman Sandeep Patil and Rajinder Singh Hans, who have been at the venues for every day of the action, are sure to have given the coach company in the head-scratching, trying their best to put the performances and failures into perspective. Also Read: Tough love at the family academy moulded Doug’s career

Three of his batsmen notched up centuries in varying fashion, while his marquee player had proved a massive let-down. These though, had come on two featherbeds against an attack that despite the presence of Doug Bracewell and Mark Gillespie never looked flash. Intense heat and humidity did not help them one bit. Also Read: Vijay Zol's first-class graduation

Having said that, both Vijay Zol and Manprit Juneja had provided striking exhibitions of not only their abundant skills with the bat but more impressively their innate temperament. Their centuries, eye-catching as they were, are unlikely to have helped the coach and the selectors ascertain whether the two youngsters were ready for the next level right away. Zol, for one, didn't help his cause with the loose poke outside his off-stump that resulted in his cheap dismissal in the

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