The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Bengal’s Paul emerges dark horse
- Selectors may pick more than 20; Bihar’s Dhoni in the frame somewhat
Sourav has had a tete-a-tete with Kirmani

Calcutta, June 19: Bengal medium-pacer Shib Shankar Paul has emerged a dark horse ahead of tomorrow’s selection of the probables for the July 16-beginning Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, also in the frame somewhat is Bihar wicketkeeper Mahender Singh Dhoni. Well-placed, of course, is Bengal captain Rohan Gavaskar.

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced 20 probables are going to be picked, chief selector Syed Kirmani has gone on record saying he preferred choosing 24.

Obviously, the beneficiaries should largely be the new-ball bowlers.

Speaking from home turf Bangalore, where he and his colleagues (Kirti Azad, Pranab Roy, Kiran More and Sanjay Jagdale) will have yet another sitting, Kirmani said a “formal proposal” is going to be placed before the BCCI once secretary S.K. Nair reaches the city.

Incidentally, contacted on his cellphone, Nair didn’t exactly give a clear-cut answer as to whether the BCCI is game for a larger probables’ pool.

The probables will head to Chennai for the 2004-05 season’s only full-fledged preparatory camp, from July 3-8.

Apparently, Team India captain Sourav Ganguly had a “chat” with Kirmani during the just-ended (general) fitness camp in Bangalore and both favoured “more than 20 being picked.”

If the BCCI gives the green signal, Paul and Dhoni’s chances are going to improve dramatically. Paul had a terrific 2003-04 season; Dhoni too was impressive, both behind the stumps and with the bat.

Be it 20 or 24, most of the probables are certainties — it’s for a few slots that the selectors ‘bargain’ among themselves and, in the process, somebody or the other does get unlucky.

East’s Pranab will probably have a restless night before boarding the first flight for Bangalore.

Paul and Dhoni apart, the rookies in contention are tearaways Munaf Patel and N.C. Aiyappa. Also, it won’t surprise if U-19 wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik — another rookie — figures in the discussions. Even if he doesn’t, now, this Tamil Nadu lad is one to watch out for.

Sadly, though, nobody is talking about the gifted Sridharan Sriram. “He has taken time to mature but, today, where’s the place' Where do we fit him'” asked one of the selectors, who actually admires the allrounder.

Sriram must be asking even more questions.

Email This Page