Bangalore, Jun 21: India's future Test batting hopes were handed a tough lesson by West Indies 'A' quicks in the recently concluded unofficial three-match Test series.
With the question over as to who will fit into the slot vacated by the great Rahul Dravid in the Indian Test team, it was a golden opportunity for the next generation of young cricketers to make an instant impression in the Caribbean. But at the end of the three exchanges between India 'A' and West Indies 'A' it is a case of missed chances and a big headache for selectors.
Batsmen's repeated failures were the cause for India 'A's 1-2 series defeat.
From the highs of the Indian Premier League Season 5, some of the young Indian batsmen embarked on the trip to Caribbean. With the spotlight of Twenty20 taken away, batsmen like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary were exposed in the longer format by little known West Indian pacemen.
Rohit had a fine run with the bat for Mumbai Indians in IPL 5. Rahane too was in similar situation with the Rajasthan Royals. Tiwary had an average league with Kolkata Knight Riders when compared to the other two.
Rohit and Rahane were expected to grab their chances on the 'A' tour and catch the eye of the selectors. But both have failed miserably.
Rahane had a tough time, managing just 62 runs in six innings at an average of 10.33. Rohit was little better with 145 from six innings (average 24.16). Rohit got 94 in one innings in the first Test but fell away after that. Tiwary scored 182 (six innings, average 30.33).
India 'A' captain Cheteshwar Pujara topped the batting charts for the visitors with 252 runs at 50.40 per visit to the crease. The skipper was the main reason why India 'A' won the opening Test.
In the race to replace Dravid, Pujara seems to have gained an edge over his team-mates. Having already played Test cricket, Pujara will be hoping that these performances will win him back a Test spot.
Another youngster, Abhinav Mukund, had to endure a hard time, with just 46 runs from six innings. The left-hander was so out of sorts that he bagged a pair in one of the Tests and managed to single digit scores in the other. In the final Test he got 10 and 20.
Mukund's opening partner, another left-hander, Shikhar Dhawan also came into this tour after IPL success with Deccan Chargers. He had plundered 569 runs in IPL 5 but scored only 30 in four innings and was dropped for the final game.
India's next Test assignment is at home against New Zealand in August. To find a replacement for Dravid before the first Test in Hyderabad on August 23, has now become an uphill task.