M A I N   N E W S

Ganguly back in reckoning

Bangalore, August 9
Sourav Ganguly was on the comeback trail today after being selected among 30 probables for the ICC Champions Trophy along with other ODI discards Zaheer Khan, V.V.S. Laxman and Anil Kumble.

Ignored by the selectors since the tour of Pakistan eight months ago, the former Indian skipper was included in the list despite poor form with the bat in the county championship in England.

Tamil Nadu middle-order batsman S. Badrinath and Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma were the two new faces in the list announced by BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah after a 40-minute meeting of the selection committee.

Kumble and Laxman also found them back into the one-day reckoning after being ignored for the shorter version of the game of late.

The final 14-member squad for the October-November tournament would be announced by September 7.

Young leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, Railways all-rounder T.P. Singh and Bengal paceman S.S. Paul were among the other fringe players who made the cut.

Justifying Ganguly's inclusion, chief selector Kiran More said, "He is top on the list of Grade A players. So when we select 30 probables, he definitely walks in."

Ganguly, who first lost his captaincy and then a place in the national team following a bitter spat with coach Greg Chappell last year, tried to force his way back into the team through the county route but ended up without any significant scores under his belt during his five-week stint with Northamptonshire.

However, More said the selectors had not gone by the county performances alone.

“We did not go by county performance alone. Ganguly is a good enough player. We wish him all the best,” said the former India wicketkeeper who had famously announced earlier that there would be “no looking back” on Ganguly as far as the present selection committee was concerned.

More denied there was any external pressure to pick Ganguly in the preliminary squad. “There was no pressure from anyone,” he stated.

Asked pointedly whether Ganguly would be included in the final 14, More said, “it depends. It applies to not only Sourav but to any other player. Performance is the consideration. Whosoever performs will be considered.” More also sought to justify the decision to go in for 30 probables instead of the 22 or 25 as widely speculated.

“We have a situation where we could have more options if we selected 30, which is the limit given by the ICC. In case anything happens to one or two players during the tri-series (in Sri Lanka), or even during the camp, then we would have options.”

On the selection of Laxman and Kumble, he said, “Laxman and Anil have done great service to the country. Their experience will be an asset to the team.” More said the selectors decided against picking either Murali Kartik or Laxmipathy Balaji because they would require more time to rehabilitate from their respective shoulder and back injuries.

Probables: Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Mohd Kaif, M.S. Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar, Anil Kumble, Dinesh Mongia, R P Singh, Suresh Raina, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman, Venugopal Rao, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, S Badrinath, S. Sreesanth, Tejinder Pal Singh, V.R.V. Singh, Dinesh Karthick, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, S.S. Paul and Piyush Chawla. — PTI 




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