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Shiv Sundar to lead, Rohan makes cut

Calcutta, May 24: Shiv Sundar Das was today named captain of the India A squad for the tour of England beginning June 22. Hemang Badani will be his deputy.

In a significant move, Sandeep Patil was rewarded for guiding rank outsiders Kenya to the World Cup semi-finals two months ago. The explosive former India batter recently returned home after a four-year stint with Kenya.

Patil replaces Ashok Malhotra, who was in charge of the squad that visited the Caribbean earlier this year.

Announcing the 16-member party for the six-week trip, BCCI secretary S.K. Nair said the choice of the Orissa opener as skipper was unanimous. All five wise men — chairman Brijesh Patel, Kirti Azad, Sanjay Jagdale, Pranab Roy and Kiran More — were present at the two-and-a-half-hour long meeting.

The 25-year-old Das played all his 23 Test matches at a stretch, the last one being in the West Indies a year ago. He has been in the squad ever since, but didn’t make the XI.

Parthiv Patel is the only stumper in the XVI. “The selectors felt there was no need for a second wicketkeeper for the six-week tour,” Nair said.

India coach John Wright had specifically asked for the inclusion of Das and Patel while interacting with the selectors.

Rohan Gavaskar made the cut. Having missed out on an India A slot for the tour of the West Indies, this will be another huge opportunity for the Bengal captain to impress and stake claims for a senior India berth.

There are seven men in the current ‘A’ squad who had been to the Caribbean as well — Badani, Gautam Gambhir, A.T. Rayudu, Avishkar Salvi, L. Balaji, Murali Kartik and Amit Mishra.

Satyajit Parab got his maiden call-up at this level. He is among nine batsmen in the party. There are four pace-ball operators — Avishkar Salvi, L. Balaji, Irfan Pathan (Junior) and Amit Bhandari — and two spinners (Murli Kartik and Amit Mishra).

The squad will attend a preparatory camp from June 1 to 18 in Bangalore where Patil and Wright will both be working with the 16 players. The India coach will be at the NCA during that period.

THE SQUAD

Shiv Sundar Das (captain, Orissa), Hemang Badani (vice-captain, Tamil Nadu), Wasim Jaffer (Mumbai), Gautam Gambhir (Delhi), Satyajit Parab (Baroda), S. Sriram (TN), A.T. Rayudu (Hyderabad), Rohan Gavaskar (Bengal), Vijay Bharadwaj (Karnataka), L. Balaji (TN), Avishkar Salvi (Mumbai), Irfan Pathan Jr (Baroda), Amit Bhandari (Delhi), Murli Kartik (Railways), Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper, Gujarat), Amit Mishra (Haryana). Coach: Sandeep Patil.

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