Calcutta: The countdown to the World Cup has already begun. The seven one-dayers versus the West Indies will only be another step in that direction.
And when the selectors meet in the city Thursday evening to decide the India XIV, there is unlikely to be any major change to the squad that participated in the ICC Champions Trophy last month.
According to sources, the only debate will revolve around the choice of an additional allrounder. Jai Prakash Yadav, who made the squad in Colombo but did not get to play a single game, is likely to be dropped. Sanjay Bangar will then come in his place.
The selectors want to test his abilities ahead of the World Cup in South Africa as they believe he could useful on the hard and bouncy pitches there.
Apart from chairman Brijesh Patel, Sanjay Jagdale is already in town while Kirti Azad and Kiran More are expected to reach in time for the meeting. East’s Pronab Roy is the fifth member on the panel.
Apropos Zaheer Khan, it is unlikely the pacer will return in the current series. Skipper Sourav Ganguly had hinted at the end of the Chennai Test that Zaheer was unavailable for the one-dayers.
Zaheer, nursing a shin bone injury, had been advised two weeks’ rest after a MRI scan done during the second Test. It is learnt that though he has recovered, the team management is unlikely to risk him ahead of the New Zealand tour and the World Cup.
The availability of Jawagal Srinath, who was added as the 15th member to the Colombo side ahead of the final, will mean that he makes up the XIV here. According to the chief selector, the squad selected will only be for the first three matches. The big guns may also be given a break if the Indians wrap up the series early.
It is unlikely that Reetinder Singh Sodhi, who practised with the Indians ahead of this Test to prove his fitness, will get a look-in.