New Delh: The debacle of Gen-Next batsmen in the three-match `unofficial Test series` against West Indies `A` is a major cause for concern as far as India`s batting bench-strength is concerned, with 10 Test matches to be played next season.
With India`s talented batsmen coming cropper against both pace and spin in the Caribbean islands, India `A` captain Cheteshwar Pujara turned out to be the lone bright spot during the series.
"The selectors were keeping an eye particularly on three players -- Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara. Certainly, Rahane and Rohit`s performance left a lot to be desired. Especially, Rohit, who has failed in five consecutive innings," a senior BCCI official said, preferring anonymity.
While Pujara, with one match-winning knock and a couple of more half centuries, scored 252 runs at an average of 50 plus, Rohit, after his 94 in the very first innings, managed only 51 runs in the next five innings. Rohit managed a meagre 145 runs at an average of 24.16 in six innings.
Rahane, on the other hand, managed only 62 runs in six innings.
Call it the after-effect of IPL or lack of proper match practice (longer version), their performance against lanky West Indian pacers like Delorn Johnson and Kevin McLean, who troubled them with pace and bounce, left a lot to be desired.
"Rahane has never had a prolonged bad patch considering his average of 60 plus in first-class cricket over five years. But obviously, the selection committee has lot of expectations from Rahane and it`s been disappointing," the official said.
Abhinav Mukund (46 runs in 6 innings) and Shikhar Dhawan`s (30 runs in 4 innings) performances have also put paid to their hopes of being the stand-by opener in Tests for the time being.
Manoj Tiwary (182 runs in 6 innings) emerged as the second highest scorer but his form was also scratchy as he got out on a few occasions after getting well-set.
Among the bowlers, Shami Ahmed with 13 wickets in three Tests, was certainly the best of the lot as he bowled with a lot of heart, but it`s unlikely that the selectors would think of promoting him to the next level before having another long hard look at him.
Performance of key India `A` batsmen
Cheteshwar Pujara -- Matches 3; Innings: 6; Runs: 252; 50`s: 3; Avg: 50.40
Manoj Tiwary -- Matches 3; Innings: 6; Runs: 182; 50`s: 1; Avg: 30.33
Rohit Sharma -- Matches 3; Innings: 6; Runs: 145; 50`s:1; Avg: 24.16
Wriddhiman Saha -- Matches 3; Innings: 6; Runs: 158; 50`s: 2; Avg: 26.33
Abhinav Mukund -- Matches 3; Innings: 6; Runs:46; 50`s:0; Avg: 7.66
Shikhar Dhawan -- Matches 2; Innings: 4; Runs: 30; 50`s:0; Avg: 7.50.