A veteran star with 12 test centuries looking to play his way back into India's top cricket team and a teenager who's scored 237 runs in his only two test matches so far headline the India A team which plays in Mount Maunganui next week.

Murali Vijay, 34, and Prithvi Shaw, who turns 19 tomorrow, are included in the first of three squads which will play across the Northern Districts region during the next month.

The first four-day match against New Zealand A starts at Bay Oval next Friday, November 15, and then after more four-day matches in Hamilton and Whangārei, there are three one-day internationals at Bay Oval in early December.

"We're excited to have world-class players coming to play here," says Kelvin Jones, the Bay Oval general manager.


"It's a feather in our cap and recognition that we produce quality playing surfaces."

For Murali Vijay, the match at Mount Maunganui next week would seem vital in the context of his immediate test career. After playing 59 tests in the last 10 years, he was dropped from the Indian team after failing in the first two matches of the series against England in August. In the second test the opening batsman had the ignominy of bagging a pair, lasting a total of just 13 balls across two innings and falling victim to England swing bowling maestro Jimmy Anderson both times.

He hasn't played for India since but with the man who replaced him, Lokesh Rahul, struggling recently against the West Indies there appears to be an opportunity for Vijay.

The young man Vijay will open the innings with at Bay Oval would seem to be assured of playing not just the forthcoming series in Australia but be an Indian batting star for many years to come. Prithvi Shaw scored 134, 70 and 33 not out in the two tests against the West Indies becoming the youngest player to make a hundred on test debut for India.

Murali Vijay of Essex is bowled out during the Specsavers County Championship match between Surrey and Essex in England in September. Photo / Getty Images
Murali Vijay of Essex is bowled out during the Specsavers County Championship match between Surrey and Essex in England in September. Photo / Getty Images

As well as the opening batsmen, there are four other test players in the squad for the match here - Ajinkya Rahane, who's the India A captain, Rohit Sharma, Parthiv Patel and Hanuma Vihari.

All six will leave for Australia after the game finishes in Mount Maunganui and other players will join the squad for the games in Hamilton and Whangārei.

Sharma is one player in especially blistering form at the moment. He hasn't played a test for India since January but has been a star of their white ball teams. In the recent ODI series against the West Indies he scored 152 in the first match, 162 in the fourth game and 63 not out in the final clash last Thursday.

Rahane is one of the Indian test team senior batsmen but is currently playing domestic cricket in India and not the ODI or T20 matches against the West Indies. He's played 52 tests with nine centuries and an average over 40.

Parthiv Patel is India's second-string wicketkeeper who played the last of his 25 tests in South Africa in January, while Hanuma Vihari scored a half century in his test debut against England in September but hasn't appeared in the top side since.

Kelvin Jones expects that with the large Indian community in Tauranga, there'll be considerable interest in the four matches the team plays here.

"There are two Indian teams in Bay of Plenty club cricket and we think back to the Under 19 World Cup final in January this year to realise how enthusiastic Indian fans are about their teams," he says.

"Clearly next week the top players in the squad are targeting the four-day match at Bay Oval to get ready for the Adelaide test or to push their case for selection."

Among the India A squad coming for the one-day international matches will be 19-year-old Shubman Gill who was Player of the Tournament in the Under 19 World Cup which India won at Bay Oval.

The first squad arrives in Tauranga this weekend and will be training at Bay Oval next week before the match starts on Friday.