Bangalore, Sep 2: India ‘A' captain Abhinav Mukund feels the presence of Under-19 World Cup winning skipper Unmukt Chand in the team will help them on their tour to New Zealand later this month.
Chand is part of the India ‘A' team. The right-hander was instrumental in India claiming the U-19 World Cup trophy in Australia, last month.
India ‘A' team started their preparations for New Zealand, here at the National Cricket Academy on Sunday.
The 15 players will be at NCA till September 12 before heading to New Zealand.
The New Zealand tour begins on September 18. India ‘A' will play two first class games (four-day matches), three 50-over matches and one Twenty20.
On the first day of the camp, Mukund spoke to the media.
Excerpts from Mukund's interaction with the media at NCA:
On Unmukt Chand in the team: Having led India to the U-19 World Cup, it's a good platform for him to come and share his experiences. He played in Australia and the conditions are not so different from New Zealand so it's great to have him in the side.
On the progress at the camp: We are just getting together so that all of us get to know each other. Lot of players are coming from the monsoons up-north, so we want to make sure we prepare really well before we head to New Zealand and I think conditions are perfect for us.
On the focus of the camp: Focus will be basic preparation for New Zealand. We will prepare our self to the New Zealand conditions and probably leaving the ball. Since BCCI is more focussing on away tours for the A team so I think we have to make sure we are well prepared for this tour.
On the New Zealand tour after India ‘A's trip to the Caribbean: All I am concerned is that we have so much time for preparation so we want to make sure we get prepared in a right way. Last tour was probably not a great one as we didn't have a lot of time to prepare. It was right after the IPL so it's a fresh season for all of us and we want to make a good start.
On the challenges of leading the side: It's an honour first of all to be given captaincy. I think I'll try to do my best.
On the team balance: I think we are very well balanced. We have five fast bowlers and three spinners and seven batsmen so we are very well balanced.
On playing in away tours: It's probably for the first time an ‘A' team is touring New Zealand. I am not sure if any ‘A' team has gone to New Zealand. So it's a good because players are going to go ahead and play Test cricket like Cheteshwar Pujara did it in West Indies. He batted well and now he is playing the Test match. I think it's a great opportunity for anyone going to tour New Zealand. If they perform well, they might get a call up for the Test team.