India 'A' keen to continue winning momentum against South Africa 'A'

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New Delhi, Sept 12 (UNI) Riding on a high after successful tours of Kenya and Zimbabwe, a confident India 'A' look to continue their winning momentum when they take on South Africa 'A' in the four-day match starting here tomorrow.

The Mohammad Kaif-led side has lost former Team India pacer Irfan Pathan from the team that toured the two African countries but coach Paras Mhambrey feels more than compensated with Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary coming back from injuries.

Mhambrey asserted the pace attack would not lack in the firepower despite Pathan's unavailability due to his national call up for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

''Both Pankaj and Yo Mahesh have done well in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

So even though Irfan would not be there, I think they can deliver the goods,'' Mhambrey told reporters after the team practice session at Ferozshah Kotla today.

Delhi pacer Ishant Sharma is part of the squad that also has a few who are harbouring dreams of Team India return in Kaif, Raina, Aakash Chopra and Parthiv Patel, especially as Australia and Pakistan visit India in October and November.

''Raina and Manoj have recovered well. I have seen them fielding and talked to the physio as well. It seems they are fully fit.

''Manoj had a great season last year and it was his shoulder injury that cost him his Team India debut. He seems in perfect shape now,'' said Mhambrey who was Tiwary's coach in the Bengal Ranji team.

''South Africa are a good side. If you score a century or take five wickets against them, it would brighten chances of an India comeback,'' Mhambrey said of his boys who have played for India.

Captain Mohammad Kaif had said the match would be an ideal platform for Team India hopefuls to prove their worth.

''Our confidence is high after successful tours of Zimbabwe and Kenya recently. We are confident of doing well against South Africa 'A','' he had said.

''This four-day match is the right platform for the young players who aspire to play for the senior national team. This is also very important for those who are now out of Team India.'' The South Africans, on the other hand, are a balance side with a blend of experience and young blood with captain Boeta Dippenaar, Hashim Amla, Ashwell Prince, Charl Langeveldt and Dale Steyn having played for their national side.

Dippenaar said his boys will have to come up good against the Indian spinners if they have to win the match.

''Everybody knows spinners play an important role in slow Indian pitches. We have some good spinners in the squad and we have to see how they perform here. I am hoping they do well,'' said the visiting captain after his team's practice session.

''Some of the boys are touring India for the first time and for them it would be a learning process.'' UNI

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