The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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More & Co. await word from Board
- Sourav-specific directive to selectors is a distinct possibility

Bangalore: The Kiran More-headed national selection committee is awaiting a “directive” from the Board on the Sourav Ganguly issue. It’s understandable.

Intriguingly, till late Friday, some in the Board were banking on More and his colleagues (Yashpal Sharma, Pranab Roy, Gopal Sharma and V.B. Chandrasekhar) to bell the cat!

Of course, that scenario can change as the season-launching tri-series squad’s selection is still a few days away.

A problem of Himalayan proportions has arisen because Justice Albie Sachs’ award on the legality of the six-ODI ban cannot ' under any circumstances ' be known before July 22 evening. The squad for Sri Lanka, however, is being chosen four days earlier.

“It won’t be fair on Rahul Dravid if Sourav is made the provisional captain and, eventually, can’t play... Equally, what if Sourav isn’t picked, but the award is favourable and made public before the tournament begins on July 30' It’s a tricky call,” one of the selectors told The Telegraph.

Speaking on Friday evening, he added: “Given this unusual situation, we would like the Board to guide us... Leaving everything to us will be unfair... Whatever it is, there has to be a directive.”

Sourav has only served out one-third of the ban imposed after the April 12 ODI against Pakistan. If Justice Sachs’ award doesn’t favour the Board (and Sourav), then the regular captain won’t be eligible for the tri-series’ league stage.

A favourable award is going to recast the script.

Provisionally handing the captaincy back to Sourav ' he didn’t lead in the last two ODIs, versus Pakistan ' and elevating Dravid (if needed) is a better proposition than any alternative.

It won’t surprise if, after a directive from Board president Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the proverbial cookie crumbles that way. He may either convey it directly, or have it communicated through secretary S.K. Nair, the selection meeting convenor.

By the way, there’s speculation that the selectors could include Sourav in a squad of 15 ' not 14 ' but put the captaincy on hold till the July 23 departure. Doesn’t seem a solution, though.

Meanwhile, coach Greg Chappell gave Sourav a boost during a tete-a-tete with the Media on the sidelines of Day III of the final conditioning camp.

“Like all elite players, he’s looking to improve... If one doesn’t, one goes backwards... There are phases when scoring doesn’t come easy, but I’m confident he will be back among the runs ' however, I can’t say when...

“Usually, focussing is the problem... Yet, I don’t see it as a big issue and please don’t make it one,” he said.

Significantly, Chappell indicated Sourav could be in Sri Lanka (“just being around”) even if he’s ineligible for the tri-series’ league stage.

Currently back in Calcutta after attending the first two days of the final camp, Sourav leaves for the UK on Saturday afternoon to complete his Glamorgan commitments.

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