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Selectors may opt for India 'A' players
April 01, 2003 18:01 IST
With many senior cricketers, including Sachin Tendulkar, making themselves unavailable due to injuries, the national selectors may opt for new faces when they pick the 14-member squad for the forthcoming triangular one-day series, to be held in Dhaka from April 11 to 20.
Some the in-form India 'A' players, who did well in the recent Caribb Beer series in the West Indies, are likely to be rewarded with berths in the senior team.
Having played non-stop cricket for the last 18 months, batting maestro Tendulkar and vice-captain Rahul Dravid have decided to skip the series to recover from finger injuries while paceman Ashish Nehra has been ruled out of action for at least five months because of an ankle injury he sustained during the World Cup semi-final against Kenya.
Pace spearhead Javagal Srinath and leg spinner Anil Kumble are also certain to be rested for the series, which also involves hosts Bangladesh and South Africa.
Speedster Aavishkar Salvi and Irfan Pathan, leg-spinner Amit Mishra, openers Gautam Gambhir and Akash Chopra and middle order batsman A T P Rayudu are in the reckoning for a place in the squad.
All of them have been impressive at the domestic level and could get the nod from the selectors.
Twenty-one-year-old Mumbai pacer Salvi had an outstanding tour of the Caribbean, capturing as many as 31 wickets and was singled out for special praise by India 'A' coach Ashok Malhotra.
Delhi openers Gautam Gambhir and Akash Chopra were also quite impressive during the tour, aggregating 617 and 545 runs respectively. One of them could be tried out in the opening slot, particularly in the absence of Tendulkar.
Captain Sourav Ganguly is also reportedly keen on taking a break though it is unlikely that the Board will concede his request in view of the injury-induced absence of some of the seniors. If he does manage to convince the bigwigs, the selectors may have to also name a stand-in skipper.
The younger members of India's World Cup squad, like Virender Sehwag, Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Sanjay Bangar and Harbhajan Singh, are expected to be retained.
With Dravid opting out of the tour, young Parthiv Patel is certain to don the wicketkeeper's gloves. Though Patel was part of the World Cup squad, he did not get to play a single match.
There is some doubt about Dinesh Mongia's selection as the left-hander was far from impressive in the World Cup, totaling just 120 runs in six innings.
Leg-spinner Amit Sharma, who was part of the Indian squad during the home series against Zimbabwe, is likely to take Kumble's place in case he is rested, though off-spinner Sarandeep Singh also has outside chance of making the team.
Pacers Tinu Yohannan and L Balaji, despite being a little inconsistent on the 'A' team's tour of the West Indies, are also in the reckoning.