| Sourav ‘needs a break’
Calcutta: Unless there’s a rethink, Team India captain Sourav Ganguly will skip Tuesday’s (concluding and inconsequential) tri-series league game against Zimbabwe, in Perth.
The captaincy, therefore, is going to rest with Rahul Dravid. He has already led in nine ODIs.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, Sourav “needs a break” to be in prim shape for the finals versus Australia, beginning later this week.
That Sourav won’t play (as of now, that is) was decided at the team meeting late on Monday evening.
Significantly, barring the ‘ceremonial’ limited overs match in Canberra, against the Prime Minister’s XI, Sourav has featured in every fixture since the tour began in the last week of November.
From then on, he has played four very demanding Tests, three three-day games and seven taxing ODIs. Obviously, that is going to take its toll.
Of course, Sourav hasn’t got runs in recent matches, but did begin the tri-series with a superb 82 at the MCG (versus Australia).
While Sourav’s place will go to Hemang Badani, Ajit Agarkar is also going to rest and his slot will be taken by Amit Bhandari, who joined the squad as the additional (17th) player.
Bhandari’s last — and only other — ODI was back in the summer of 2000.
Team India, one understands, could see yet another change in the XI which got mauled by Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds on Sunday — there’s talk of dropping the sole (fit) specialist spinner, Murali Kartik, and bringing back quick Ashish Nehra.
Meanwhile, the in-sublime-form V.V.S.Laxman and manager Shivlal Yadav have both been conferred honorary life membership by the elite Cricket Club of India.
A formal presentation is going to be made at a convenient date, informed president Raj Singh Dungarpur.
LIKELY INDIAN XI
Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, V.V.S.Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Rohan Gavaskar, Hemang Badani, Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Amit Bhandari and Ashish Nehra/Murali Kartik.