Keen to identify young multi-skilled players who could make a quick transition to elite level, the BCCI has summoned 20 potential all-rounders for a near three-week camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
Legendary Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun, who plays first-class cricket for Goa and made his IPL debut in the last edition for Mumbai Indians, has also been called for the camp, beginning August.
"There is an Emerging Asia Cup (U-23) also later this year and BCCI is looking at potential youngsters. The all-rounders camp is an idea of NCA's head of cricket VVS Laxman to ensure that we develop a lot of multi-skilled players across formats," a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
It has been learnt that the senior national selection committee headed by Shiv Sunder Das (interim) has selected players based on performance and potential.
"Not everyone summoned for camp is a pure all-rounder. Some are batting all-rounders and some are opposite. The idea is to tap the potential and help them upgrade their skills suitably for transition to next grade," the source added.
Some of the more notable names include Saurashtra left-arm seamer and hard-hitting lower-order batter Chetan Sakariya, who has already played for India in 2021 and also plays in the IPL for Delhi Capitals.
There is Punjab's left-handed batter Abhishek Sharma, who has put some good performances with the willow for Sunrisers Hyderabad and also bowls tight left-arm spin. Apart from Tendulkar, Goa's off-spinner all-rounder Mohit Redkar has also been summoned and Rajasthan's Manav Suthar has also made the list.
From Delhi, the two players sent are fast bowler Harshit Rana and medium pacer Divij Mehra, both of whom are handy batters.
"Harshit was in fact summoned as net bowler with senior Indian team to UK for WTC finals. Accordingly his visa and travel documents were prepared but we saw Yarra Prithviraj of Andhra being sent. But it's good that national selectors are seriously considering his potential. He is also a handy batter, who can only get better if he works on his batting," a senior DDCA official said.
"In case of Divij, getting a five-for against Mumbai worked for him. Plus at the age-group level, he has scored hundreds. He is more than a handy batter," the official said.
Tendulkar has played three IPL games and didn't look out of place but asked the rationale behind his selection, the BCCI source said, "Arjun already has a Ranji Trophy century. A left-arm pacer who bowls between early and mid 130 kmph and bats left-handed. He brings in variety." But can his call-up be questioned, considering his modest performance in domestic cricket? "It is not just about numbers but also about potential. He is 23 and has time to develop is what this (senior selection) committee thinks. Else, they wouldn't have picked him. Yes, he only has 12 wickets from seven first-class games but he has shown a certain degree of ability and coaches will work on that," the BCCI source added.
That Tendulkar junior has got a call-up for the NCA camp was also confirmed by Goa Cricket Association.
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