Mumbai, Aug 1: Terming India A's upcoming tour of South Africa as a tough challenge, team coach Lalchand Rajput has said it would also provide a good opportunity for fringe players to earn a berth in the senior team which is set to travel to the same country later this year.
"The tour to South Africa is a tough one. Everyone knows that Australia or South Africa is a tough tour. The 'A' tour is an opportunity for players who are in and out of the team (to impress the selectors) because if you perform well in it then you get selected for the India team," said the former Test opener here.
Rajput, who was felicitated by the Dadar Parsi Zoroastrian Cricket Club, pointed out how Cheteshwar Pujara, who will be leading the team, did well in the West Indies last year as captain of the 'A' team and immediately found a berth in the national senior squad.
"Cheteshwar Pujara went last year to the West Indies where he did well and immediately came into the Indian team. When we went to New Zealand, Bhuvneshwar Kumar did well, Mohammed Shami and (Ambati) Rayudu also did well on that tour and now they are in the Indian team. "This tour is important. Players also realise that if they do well in the 'A' tour then the next step is the Indian team, so it is an important tour," he added.
Rajput said the players, who are not touring Zimbabwe currently, will have a short camp in Bangalore from tomorrow before reaching South Africa on August 4 ahead of the team's opening game of the tri-series on August 8 against Australia A.
"Ten players are already playing in Zimbabwe, so they must be match fit and would be coming directly from there to South Africa. I am going to meet the other six players in Bangalore tomorrow. We will have a 2 to 3-day camp and then leave on August 3 and meet the other players on August 4."
Rajput stressed that the team would take one series at a time, by concentrating on the tri-series first and then turning its focus on the two four-day games against the hosts.