| DEEP: Batting his USP
Calcutta: Deep Dasgupta, whose last India appearance was in the Georgetown Test, earlier this year, is likely to make the New Zealand-bound (Test) squad as second wicketkeeper.
In fact, according to well-placed sources of The Telegraph, Deep actually stands “a good chance.” Wicketkeeper No. 1, of course, will be the teenaged Parthiv Patel.
Once again, Deep’s ability with the bat is his USP. At the same time, he has been working hard with the big gloves. If required, then, Deep can ease the balance-burden on Sourav Ganguly and John Wright’s shoulders.
As only two Tests have been scheduled, there’s talk that Brijesh Patel and Co. may make just one selection (a combined squad for Tests and ODIs), when they meet in Vijayawada.
However, as of late Thursday, indications are that the conventional manner of selection — XVI for the Tests and, then, the squad for the ODIs — is most likely to be followed.
[As the seven ODIs in New Zealand will be the last (for India) before the World Cup, the Board could make an exception and allow an additional — XVth — player.]
If it does come to a combined selection, though, the squad will have to be XVI-plus.
The selection is some days off, but a major surprise is unlikely. Assuming that an exclusive Test squad is picked, only Amit Mishra — who figured in the XIV during all three Tests against the West Indies — is set to miss out.
“Taking three spinners will be pointless. Rather, the squad must have an extra mediumpacer,” remarked one of the sources. One cannot but agree.
Given the current mood, the squad should have three openers (Virender Sehwag, Sanjay Bangar and Shiv Sundar Das), five middle-order batsmen (Sourav, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S.Laxman and Mohammed Kaif/Yuvraj Singh), two spinners (Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh), four new-ball operators (Jawagal Srinath, Ajit Agarkar, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan) and the two wicketkeepers.
Both Sachin and Zaheer are recovering from injuries but, in physio Andrew Leipus’ opinion, they will be available for selection.
Speaking exclusively, he said: “Sachin’s hamstring injury just requires time… I mean, one can’t push nature… As for Zaheer, he was troubled everytime he sprinted. The rest (after the Chennai Test) has allowed him to get better and he should soon resume bowling.”
While the Indians depart on November 30, the tour-opener is slated for December 4. The first Test, in Wellington, is from December 12.
(Assuming an exclusive Test squad is picked)
F Openers: Virender Sehwag, Sanjay Bangar, Shiv Sundar Das.
F Middle-order batsmen: Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar,
V.V.S.Laxman, Mohammed Kaif/Yuvraj Singh.
F Wicketkeepers: Parthiv Patel, Deep Dasgupta.
F Spinners: Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh.
F New-ball operators: Jawagal Srinath, Ajit Agarkar, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer