Calcutta: Sourav Ganguly’s one-day comeback will be in Nagpur, on January 21, but Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh are unlikely to be picked for the first two ODIs against the West Indies.
|Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag
“The mood is to drop both Harbhajan and Sehwag… So, unless there’s some sympathy for them overnight, they won’t be in the squad for Nagpur and Cuttack (January 24),” a well-placed source told The Telegraph on Thursday.
The selectors are getting together in Rajkot on Friday morning/afternoon.
Captain Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell are also going to be present on a day when chairman Dilip Vengsarkar and his colleagues (Venkatapathi Raju, Bhupinder Singh, Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal) name the 30 World Cup probables as well.
As the probables’ list won’t be substantially different from the 30 for last year’s Champions Trophy — Haryana’s Joginder Sharma, Bengal’s Ranadeb Bose and Delhi’s Ishant Sharma are bound to be in, though — the attention is more on the squad for Nagpur and Cuttack.
Sehwag did get a hundred (at No.4) for Delhi on Wednesday, but the powers-that-be don’t seem to have been impressed.
As for Harbhajan, who didn’t get a look-in during the three-Test series in South Africa, a couple of very influential gentlemen are cut up with him.
There’s a question mark over V.V.S. Laxman, too. He may, therefore, only make it if the squad has 15 and not 14 players.
There’s a move, incidentally, to select rookie Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma and keep Laxman for Test cricket alone.
If both Sehwag and Laxman aren’t there (Yuvraj Singh, in any case, is unavailable), it won’t be a big surprise if the vice-captaincy is handed to Sourav.
Apparently, a section within the Board has floated that idea, but many won’t take very kindly to the former captain becoming part of the team management.
There have been exceptions but, usually, a vice-captain isn’t named for engagements at home.
Interestingly, quite a few are looking at Dinesh Karthik to fill one of the berths for specialist batsmen. It could, eventually, be a toss up between him and Robin Uthappa.
The certainties (as of late Thursday) for the first two ODIs are: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav, Dravid, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Mongia, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Ramesh Powar, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth.
Very well placed is Joginder, who last played for India 25 months ago.
In contention are: Laxman, Karthik, Uthappa and young Rohit.
The Likely WORLD CUP PROBABLEs
| Ranadeb Bose
Batsmen: Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S.Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Mohammed Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Mongia, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yalaka Venugopal Rao, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Subramanium Badrinath, Tejinder Pal Singh.
Wicketkeepers: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik.
Spinners: Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar, Piyush Chawla.
Mediumpacers: Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Joginder Sharma, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Vikram Rajvir Singh, Ranadeb Bose and Ishant Sharma.
May make it: Parthiv Patel, Rudra Pratap Singh.
Dark horse: Cheteshwar Pujara.