The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav set to be captain, provisionally
- Young Raina a hot contender; Jagdale may get tri-series managership

Calcutta: Sourav Ganguly is almost assured of provisionally getting back the Team India captaincy, but it’s not clear what will happen if Justice Albie Sachs’ award ' assuming it’s favourable ' is announced after the tri-series in Sri Lanka gets underway on July 30.

That should be decided when chief selector Kiran More and his colleagues (Yashpal Sharma, Pranab Roy, Gopal Sharma and V.B. Chandrasekhar) meet in Bangalore, Monday afternoon, to pick a 15-strong squad.

It was assumed only 14 would go, but Board secretary S.K. Nair has clarified the arrangement with Sri Lanka is for 15 players and five officials/support staff.

The tournament ends on August 9/10, with India featuring in a minimum of four and a maximum of five matches.

An unusual situation has arisen because the earliest that Justice Sachs, the ICC-appointed arbiter, can give his award is late on July 22 ' four days after the squad is picked.

He has promised to be quick (“I’m a fast worker”), but may actually need time to announce his award on the “dispute” over the six-ODI ban on the regular Team India captain.

That, according to The Telegraph’s sources, is what’s more worrying for the selectors and Board mandarins.

It’s going to be terribly unsettling if Rahul Dravid goes for the toss in the opener against Sri Lanka (on July 30), but is then asked to return to the No. 2 position in the pecking order.

Greg Chappell, whose innings as coach effectively starts with the tri-series, won’t be amused either.

Incidentally, Dravid was at the helm in the last two ODIs, versus Pakistan.

Sources have suggested the Board will lay down “guidelines” and not give a directive to the selectors on the Sourav issue.

However, it’s inconceivable that the Board mandarins won’t even have an informal word or two with More & Co. in the lead-up to the most eagerly awaited selection meeting of recent times.

Nair is reaching Bangalore as early as Sunday morning and, apparently, president Ranbir Singh Mahendra is also going to be there well before Monday afternoon.

More, already in Bangalore, will be joined by his colleagues before the second practice game (David Johnson’s benefit, a day-nighter) on Sunday.

Meanwhile, one learns 18-year-old left-hander, Suresh Raina of UP, is a hot contender for a middle-order berth.

Gujarat’s Neeraj Patel, too, is being talked about reasonably strongly. A member of the 1999-00 U-19 World Cup-winning squad, he’s 24.

It’s not official, but it seems former national selector Sanjay Jagdale is going to get the managership.

The Indore-based Jagdale is the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association secretary.

Postscript: Sourav left for London, en route to Worcester, on Saturday afternoon. He’s obliged to play three more matches for Glam-organ.

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