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Pathan cleared for World Cup
Deepti Patwardhan in Ahmedabad | February 25, 2007 18:13 IST
8.4 overs, 48 runs, 2 wickets. Not quite the figures BCCI chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar or the Irfan Pathan-loving public wanted to see at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday. But the verdict was out soon after Central zone were bowled out for 234 runs that Pathan would be travelling to the West Indies for the World Cup, or "Pappu pass ho gaya," as the hordes of fans holered from the stands during the Deodhar Trophy inter-zonal match.
"There's no question about it, he is in the team [for the World Cup]," said Vengsarkar, who had earlier in the week said that the Baroda paceman's place in the 15-man squad for the World Cup would be finalised after the selectors had assessed his fitness in Sunday's match. Indian team physio John Gloster had pronounced Pathan 100 per cent fit before the squad was selected on February 12.
Pathan bowled a forgettable first spell, conceding 30 runs in five overs without taking a wicket. The 22-year-old, put to test in the match, didn't go full out and hardly posed a threat to the opening batsmen Faiz Fazal and Pravin Kumar.
"He needs to bowl a lot more," said Vengsarkar, conceding that Pathan looked rusty in the game. "He hasn't played in a while. But I'm sure he'll get lots of chances."
Former India captain Vengsarkar also denied that he and the other two selectors-- North Zone's Bhupinder Singh and East Zone's Ranjib Biswal-- had come only to assess Pathan's form and fitness.
"Its not that we are here only for that," he said, "We are here to see the other players also. We will be watching the other two matches in Ahmedabad as well."
But India's chief selector added that it was difficult to decide on a player's fitness on just one game-- 8.4 overs in this case.
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