The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Now, selectors under trial

Calcutta, Oct. 21: Eight days after the senior national selectors lobbed the ball in Sourav Ganguly’s potholed half, the former India captain has smashed it right back.

The selectors challenged Sourav to prove both his form and fitness. Now that he has, with 117 versus North Zone in Rajkot, it will be difficult for Kiran More and Co. to keep him out.

Actually, Sourav also proved ' for the second time in five weeks ' that he has it in him to overcome situations which place a heavy demand on the mind.

Last month, he’d posted a Test hundred in Bulawayo just days after being asked by coach Greg Chappell to step down. Anybody with less steel would have cracked beyond recognition.

Today came another (first-class) hundred. Anything below three figures would have been catastrophic.

So, if Mohali saw Sourav being dropped for the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka, the same Punjab city should see his return when the selectors meet there in exactly a week.

That’s when the squad for the next two/three ODIs is going to be picked. “Unless the unstated agenda is to finish Sourav, I don’t see how he’s to be ignored'. Both form and fitness have been established,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph.

Sourav won’t have to undergo another test before the Mohali meeting as East Zone’s next Duleep match is from November 4 ' versus Zimbabwe A in Mumbai.

Of course, what can still work against him is that detractors in the five-member selection committee may argue that nobody ought to be dropped without a fair run.

But, then, Gautam Gambhir made it only because Sourav was shown the door. Now, the scenario is different and somebody will have to underline that.

Significantly, Sourav’s effort was watched by two selectors ' the Sharmas, Yashpal and Gopal. Till last week’s meeting in Mohali, both were perceived as being in his favour.

The other selectors (More, Pranab Roy and V.B. Chandrasekhar) have been assigned the Duleep match in Vadodara.

Till late at night, More didn’t answer his cellphone, but Chappell did say something in Bangalore.

Asked by newspersons whether Sourav would be back after the first two ODIs, he said: “You have to ask the BCCI and the selectors, that’s not something I can answer. I’m not going to comment on selection issues'. We have got a group that’s preparing for the first two games.”

Sourav, meanwhile, is waiting for the ODIs after Nagpur and Mohali.

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