Nov. 27: Wasim Jaffer’s selection in the ODI squad last month suggested that Dilip Vengsarkar would call the shots as chairman of the senior selection committee.
That got reinforced this evening when he took the initiative to send V.V.S. Laxman to South Africa as a “reinforcement” once it was confirmed captain Rahul Dravid would miss the last two ODIs and Team India’s first Twenty20 International.
“No request came from the team management… The selectors, however, felt a specialist batsman needed to go,” explained Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Niranjan Shah, an hour after announcing there would be no addition.
Contacted by The Telegraph, Vengsarkar said: “I had a discussion with my colleagues… Laxman, in any case, was a certainty for the Test series… By going early, he will get time to acclimatise, too.”
Four weeks ago, though, he’d maintained the Hyderabad stalwart’s “fitness” wasn’t up to ODI standards. But then, much has happened since.
We’re trailing 0-2, the batsmen have floundered and, yesterday, No. 2 wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik played as a specialist batsman!
Laxman, who won’t reach in time for the next match (on Wednesday), has been off ODIs for 15 months.
It’s intriguing why the team management didn’t ask for somebody. The Greg Chappells, clearly, should’ve been most concerned.
Injured attempting a catch at Newlands, Dravid (who batted with pain-killers) has been diagnosed with an “avulsion fracture” on the right middle finger.
The official statement, courtesy media manager Rajan Nair, reads: “Rahul Dravid injured the middle finger of his right hand while attempting a catch. X-rays and consultations with a hand specialist this morning have confirmed an avulsion fracture. The injury does not require surgery and will be treated conservatively and monitored constantly.
“At this stage, he’s going to miss the remaining ODIs. It is anticipated that he will be fit for the first Test (from December 15).”
As the medical facilities in Cape Town are excellent, Dravid and physio John Gloster didn’t leave for Port Elizabeth with the rest this morning.
They were expected there later in the day.
Dravid’s injury means that the out-of-form and under-pressure Virender Sehwag is going to be stand-in captain. It’s unclear who will be his deputy.
With Laxman getting a call-up, Sourav Ganguly’s fingers are going to be kept crossed. He has been out for nine months, but hasn’t given up hope.
Indications are that Sourav actually has a “50-50” chance for the Test squad, to be chosen on Thursday.