Vijay Shankar and Shardul Thakur are set to return to top-flight cricket with the upcoming five-match one-day series against South Africa A in Thiruvananthapuram. The BCCI named two India A squads - one for the first three matches and another for the last two games - and Vijay and Thakur were named in both of them, with Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer sharing captaincy duties.
Thakur returns to competitive cricket after recovering from his foot surgery right after the IPL. Vijay, meanwhile, had his maiden World Cup campaign brought to a premature end by a Jasprit Bumrah toe-crusher in the nets, only three games since his tournament debut. His recent outings at the TNPL fetched him only 10 runs and three wickets in three games for Chepauk Super Gillies.
Nitish Rana and Sanju Samson, whose last appearances in competitive cricket came during the IPL, were also among the 22 players who were picked for the series, which will run from August 29 to September 6.
While Rana, the Kolkata Knights Riders batting allrounder, also made it to both squads - each comprising 15 players - Samson was assigned wicketkeeping duties for only the fourth and fifth games, in which Iyer will lead the side. Ishan Kishan, meanwhile, will keep wickets for the first three matches, under Pandey's captaincy.
Samson and Iyer were among the seven players to have been named only for the last two games, alongside quick bowlers Tushar Deshpande and Ishan Porel, batsman Prashant Chopra, and spinners Washington Sundar and Rahul Chahar who were both part of the T20I side that played against West Indies recently.
India mainstay Yuzvendra Chahal, meanwhile, featured in both squads, so did Shubman Gill, Shivam Dube, Anmolpreet Singh, Ricky Bhui, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, and Rana. Krunal Pandya, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar and Pandey were the absentees from the squad for the last two matches.
Gill, the top-scorer during India A's four-match one-day series against West Indies, might be the first-choice opener for all five matches, with Ruturaj Gaikwad, who finished second on the run-scorers' list during the same series was picked only for the first three games against South Africa A, as his opening partner.
A squad for first three one-dayers: Manish Pandey (capt.), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Anmolpreet Singh, Ricky Bhui, Ishan Kishan (wk), Vijay Shankar, Shivam Dube, Krunal Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Nitish Rana
A squad for last two one-dayers: Shreyas Iyer (capt.), Shubman Gill, Prashant Chopra, Anmolpreet Singh, Ricky Bhui, Sanju Samson (wk), Nitish Rana, Vijay Shankar, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Rahul Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Tushar Deshpande, Ishan Porel