Indian pacer Shardul Thakur will be travelling to South Africa as part of the India A squad while batsman Suryakumar Yadav will be staying in the country to be a part of the Indian squad that will face World Test Championship Winners New Zealand in two Test matches.

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Team managers had decided to give the bowler a break considering he has been playing cricket overseas for over six months. He was also not included in India’s squad for the T20 or Test series against New Zealand.

Thakur, who hails from Mumbai, will represent India A only in the third fixture against South Africa A in Bloemfontein. It seems like it is a part of new coach Rahul Dravid’s strategy to ensure that every player is match ready before donning the shirt of the senior side.

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The Indian side will travel to South Africa for a three-match Test and three-match One Day International series which will commence on December 17 and conclude on January 16. Shardul will not have played any game before the squad selection for the series other than the one he is expected to play against South Africa A.

It is speculated that batting all-rounder Hanuma Vihari was left out of India’s squad for the New Zealand Test series because the selectors did not expect him to get any match time against the Kiwis. In order to continue developing it would be better for the player to get a few matches under his belt and maintain his rhythm while playing for India A.

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It remains unclear why Suryakumar Yadav has been asked to stay with the Indian squad when the side has Shreyas Iyer, who is expected to make his debut for the Test side. One possible reason could be the BCCI’s fear of not having an able backup in case a player is injured or contracts the coronavirus.

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw had travelled with the main squad for the England tour as backups. Neither got any playing time.