After the three-match unofficial Test series (four-day matches), India A and New Zealand A will fight for honours in a three-match one-day series starting in Chennai at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday.
The hosts won the multi-day series 1-0 with a 113-run win in the final match of the series in Bengaluru. The first one in the same city was drawn while rain played spoilsport during the second match at Hubballi.
Like in four-day matches, India A will go into the series as firm favourites even though the visitors put up a decent show in the red-ball series.
For India A, Prithvi Shaw, and Ruturaj Gaikwad provide a solid front at the top of the order with the middle order set to be taken care of by skipper Sanju Samson, Rajat Patidar and Rahul Tripathi.
The squad also has the likes of Tilak Varma, who impressed for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and pacer Raj Angad Bawa, a star of the last under-19 World Cup apart from experienced all-rounders like Shardhul Thakur and Rishi Dhawan.
Apart from the challenge of going up against a strong Indian side, the visitors also have had only two days of practice in the city to get used to conditions that are hotter than what it was in Bengaluru.
For the Kiwis, it is a chance for the players to show what they can do here in sub-continental conditions with an eye to the 2023 World Cup to be held here.
“The Indian team has changed across the formats. We have a whole new challenge with the white ball squad with a bit more experience coming in terms of players who have played for India. We are looking forward to testing our skills against (them). We are trying to make sure our skills are as good and sharp as possible to come out with a win,” said O’Donnell.