India’s hopes of a taxing tune-up for the first Test rest in the hands of hard-hitting batsman D’Arcy Short and a stack of youngsters, three of which are yet to make their first-class debut.
Virat Kohli’s team will shift their attention to red-ball cricket following Sunday’s Twenty20 series finale in Sydney.
The world No.1 Test side will have scant time and little match practice to prepare for the four-Test series opener, which begins in Adelaide on December 6.
India’s sole tour game starts at the SCG next Wednesday against an inexperienced Cricket XI.
Sam Whiteman, once touted as ‘s next keeper before a serious finger injury derailed his career, will captain the CA XI squad named on Wednesday.
Short, who has played nine first-class games and made his ODI and Twenty20 debut earlier this year, is the only member of the squad to have represented .
Max Bryant, Jonathan Merlo and Aaron Hardie, who featured at this year’s under-19 World Cup but are yet to play first-class cricket, are the freshest faces in the CA XI.
There was speculation that Usman Khawaja could return from a knee injury in the tour game but he instead hopes to captain Queensland in next week’s Shield clash with Victoria at the Gabba.
The inexperienced opposition is unlikely to please India and indeed the International Cricket Council, who earlier this year called on cricket boards around the world to provide better treatment of visiting teams.
“Particularly around practice facilities, warm-up matches and logistical arrangements,” the ICC’s cricket committee, headed by India’s former coach and captain Anil Kumble, noted.
India are at least playing on a Test venue, a luxury that is often rarely afforded. They also had a small win when the fixture, originally listed as a three-day clash, became a four-day game.
The scheduling of tour games and quality of opposition is an issue around the world.
Pakistan refused to include a frontline spinner in the XI they rolled out for ‘s tour game in the UAE that preceded that two-Test series.
Earlier this year, India coach Ravi Shastri called for his side to play more red-ball cricket in before the first Test but admitted the schedule would make that tough.
“This is a chance for our emerging players to display their skills against a world-class opponent,” selector Greg Chappell said.
“We look forward to seeing what they can do.”
CA XI SQUAD
*0 first-class games: Max Bryant, Jonathan Merlo, Aaron Hardie *2-4 first-class games: Jake Carder, Jackson Coleman, Daniel Fallins, David Grant, Param Uppal *7-12 first-class games: D’Arcy Shot, Harry Nielsen, Harry Conway *50 first-class games: Sam Whiteman (capt).