Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan aim to shine for India A in warm-up versus England

After the atmosphere at the first warm-up match on Tuesday, things will be back to normal in Thursday’s game at the Brabourne Stadium.

After the star-studded outfit in the opener, captain Ajinkya Rahane is the only player in the India A side who will be part of the one-day squad to face England.

Apart from Rahane, the focus will be on the three left-handers — Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan.

In terms of talent, India’s cup is overflowing in every format. Suddenly, no one wants to miss a match because the replacements are making such an impact that returning to the team has become a challenge.

It has led to healthy competition, and Rahane and Raina will be feeling the pressure from GenNext as Pant and Ishan are already pushing the seniors.

Included in the T20 team, it is the perfect platform for Pant to warm up for the challenge against England. He has been in form in domestic cricket, occupying the No 4 spot among the highest run-getters in Ranji Trophy.

His captain at the U-19 World Cup, Ishan, is not far behind, notching up 799 runs for Jharkhand. The two are hot on Dhoni’s heels, being wicketkeeper-batsmen and given the rate at which they get runs.

There is competition between the two as well. Pant started the season with a triple century and the 18-year-old Ishan answered with a 273. The 21-year-old Deepak Hooda of Baroda has a top score of 293 not out in a season where he averaged 71.72.

Raina has been plagued by injuries and illness, missing out on a major part of the first-class season. His last ODI was in October 2015, and he needs a good score to be in fray for the Champions Trophy.

Against New Zealand, Rahane had failed to cash in on the opportunity to cement his place as opener, coming up with just one half-century in five innings.

Thursday’s game will be an opportunity to find rhythm and prove his fitness as he is coming back after a fracture to his right index finger.