Tuesday, December 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mongia, Yuvraj for World Cup

A combination file photo shows Indian batsmans Dinesh Mongia and Vangipurappu Laxman
A combination file photo shows Indian batsmans Dinesh Mongia (R) playing a shot against Zimbabwe in Mohali, India, on March 10, 2002 and Vangipurappu Laxman, hitting a delivery against West Indies in Baroda, India, on November 18, 2002. Indian cricket selectors left out wristy batsman V.V.S Laxman on Monday from the final 15-player squad for the 2003 World Cup and opted for attacking left-hander Dinesh Mongia as the seventh specialist batsmen in the Saurav Ganguly-led squad. — Reuters photo

Kolkata, December 30
Stylish batsman V.V.S. Laxman was today ignored for India’s World Cup campaign in South Africa, yielding his place in the 15-member squad to left-hander Dinesh Mongia, as the national selectors reposed their faith in the old guard.

An out-of-form Laxman was expectedly sacked from the team after his continued indifferent performance on the ongoing tour of New Zealand.

Laxman’s replacement with Mongia was the only change in the team currently playing the seven-match one-day series against New Zealand apart from the 16th member Rakesh Patel who was also left out of the squad announced by Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary S.K. Nair here.

The team contains seven specialist batsmen, four seamers, one all-rounder, two spinners and one specialist wicketkeeper in Parthiv Patel.

Nair said the selection committee had a tele-conference with captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright in New Zealand before picking the squad.

Team: Saurav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Mongia, Sanjay Bangar, Ashish Nehra and Ajit Agarkar.

Asked about the departure schedule of the team, Nair said as per tournament rules the team had to reach South Africa 10 days before the start of the World Cup. “Accordingly we will draw the departure schedule.”

The 15-member team was selected from the list of 30 probables that the board had announced on December 18. The list included as many as five new faces but none of them could make it to the final squad, announced a day ahead of the ICC’s deadline of December 31.

The selectors decided to include Patel in the squad as a stand-bye for Rahul Dravid who has been keeping wickets in one-dayers in recent times to provide more balance to the team.

Spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh retained their places in the side despite a not-very-impressive track-record on overseas wickets.

Veteran speedster Javagal Srinath, who has been bowling very well in the series against New Zealand, will lead the four-pronged pace attack which includes left-arm seamers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra and medium-pacer Ajit Agarkar.

Sanjay Bangar is the lone all-rounder in the squad while the seven batsmen are Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Mongia, Yuvraj and Kaif.

Better fielding capabilities tilted the dice in favour of left-hander Dinesh Mongia.

Mongia, who has been in and out of the Indian team in recent months, got the green signal from the national selectors in place of V.V.S. Laxman, who has had a dismal run with the bat in both versions of the game in the ongoing New Zealand tour so far.

Laxman also came in for criticism for his poor running between the wickets, sources privy to the 30-minute long selection panel meeting here said.

They said Mongia’s induction had the full support of Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly, who, along with coach John Wright, had a 10-minute teleconference from New Zealand with the national selectors before the meeting began.

“In fact, Ganguly has been given the exact squad he had asked for,” the sources said. PTI

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