ICL: Indian Cricket League


First test for India’s new selectors

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The Ganguly question will weigh heavily on their minds when India’s first paid selectors, headed by Kris Srikkanth, meet in Mumbai on Wednesday to pick the squad for the first Test against Australia beginning on October 9.

Contrary to perceptions, Sourav Ganguly’s case is far from closed. Ganguly was the only regular Test batsman who did not find a place in the Irani Cup, billed as the selection trial ahead of the series - Sachin Tendulkar pulled out because of an injury - but it is learnt that Srikkanth and his colleagues, Yashpal Sharma, Narendra Hirwani, Raja Venkat and Surendra Bhave will “keep an open mind” towards him. In fact, Ganguly is said to have a 50-50 chance of making it to the team.

“It is not only Sourav, it can be anyone and we don’t have any bias”, a source told Cricinfo. There are two contrasting sets of opinion about Ganguly: one section strongly felt Ganguly is not fit while the other one is of the opinion that board might not also want an abrupt retirement of a former captain. Shashank Manohar, the new BCCI president, will also “brief the selectors on the board’s selection guidelines” before the meeting.

A squad of 14 is likely to be chosen. The first five batting slots will be filled by Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni as wicketkeeper. The sixth batsman is a vacant slot in the XI. Mohammad Kaif and S Badrinath will vie for the place alongside Ganguly.

With the pitches likely to be on the slower side, the team management might stress for the third spinner behind Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh in addition to three fast bowlers. Murali Kartik, who was part of the Middlesex team that won the Twenty20 Cup, will probably feature in the discussion based on his recent form, fitness and his past results against Australia. Kartik was the match-winner in the final game of Australia’s last two tours to India: he took 7 for 76 on a worn-out pitch in the fourth Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai in 2004 and had figures of 6 for 27 at the same venue when Australia visited India for a seven-ODI series. If Kartik is selected, there would be no place for Pragyan Ojha, the young left-arm spinner who was part of the Test squad in Sri Lanka.

Source:Cricket News

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