The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delay in naming probables is tactical

Calcutta: The delay in naming 30 probables for the 2003 World Cup appears to be part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) smartly-plotted strategy to keep the International Cricket Council (ICC) guessing.

Actually, it’s an excellent means of putting the sport’s governing body under ‘pressure’.

After all, barring India, the remaining 13 countries have all announced their 30 (end-November was the deadline). But, then, no other country has such strong reservations about the Player Terms. This delay, therefore, is akin to making the who-blinks-first game more teasing.

The BCCI president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, wasn’t available for comment, but it is understood the probables will only be named after Monday’s ICC-BCCI meeting in the city. For the record, the BCCI has already sought “more time.”

“The Indian gameplan seems to be to keep the ICC on tenterhooks… Make the brass lose some sleep as well,” is how a well-placed source put it, while interacting with The Telegraph Friday evening.

He added: “This has Dalmiya’s stamp and, obviously, it’s a tactical move… The more the ICC is unclear of what is happening, the better his chances of getting the best deal (on the Terms)…”

Not that the sport’s governing body isn’t aware that absolutely no tournament can enjoy a high profile without the participation of the Sachin Tendulkars and Sourav Gangulys.

It’s significant, of course, that Monday’s meeting is on Dalmiya’s home turf. Though he is a member of the ICC’s special committee for the Terms issue, Dalmiya is understood to have formally questioned the very basis of enforcing the terribly one-sided and controversial clauses.

Being a former ICC president and having been privy to a host of behind-the-scenes dealings, Dalmiya is well-placed to take on the present dispensation.

Meanwhile, to talk of the probables, all 19 (including Parthiv Patel) who either played or were in the squad during the recent series versus the West Indies, are bound to make the cut. Sachin and Zaheer Khan, too.

Where the other slots are concerned, promising Ambati Tirupati Rayudu should make it, as also Gautam Gambhir and Irfan Pathan. Perhaps, even Rohan Gavaskar and Ranadeb Bose.

Ranadeb, in fact, appears the dark horse.

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