Srikar Bharat has been named India A captain for their upcoming South Africa tour but has been left out of India's Test squad for the two-match Test series against the Proteas starting December 26. Bharat was a part of India's playing XI that played against Australia in the ICC World Test Championship final (2021-23 cycle) at The Oval.
The wicketkeeper-batter was also picked for India's last Test assignment, against the West Indies but wasn't picked in the playing XI in either of the two Tests as Ishan Kishan donned the gloves.
However, the fixtures against South Africa A will be another opportunity for the Visakhapatnam-born to impress the selectors and make a case for a comeback in the longest format of the sport. On the other hand, Mumbai's prolific run-getter Sarfaraz Khan is a notable addition to the A squad.
Sarfaraz boasts eye-catching numbers in first-class cricket. The 26-year-old batter has aggregated 3589 runs in the circuit at an astounding average of 71.78, including 13 centuries and nine half-centuries. Sai Sudharsan, Vidhwath Kaverappa and Abhimanyu Easwaran are the other noteworthy inclusions to the India A squad.
Sudharsan has been consistently racking up runs in List A and at the first-class level. The Tamil Nadu batter averages 65.05 in List A and 43.63 in first-class cricket. He was also the third-leading run-scorer (362 runs) for Gujarat Titans during the IPL (Indian Premier League) 2023 season.
India A squad for the 1st four-day match:
Sai Sudharsan, Abhimanyu Easwaran*, Devdutt Padikkal, Pradosh Ranjan Paul, Sarfaraz Khan, KS Bharat (C)(wk), Dhruv Jurel, Shardul Thakur, Pulkit Narang, Sourabh Kumar, Manav Suthar, Prasidh Krishna, Akash Deep, Vidhwath Kaverappa, Tushar Deshpande.
India A squad for 3rd four-day match:
Sai Sudharsan, Abhimanyu Easwaran*, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, KS Bharat (C)(wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Harshit Rana, Kuldeep Yadav, Manav Suthar, Akash Deep, Vidhwath Kaverappa, Navdeep Saini.