Thursday, May 29, 2008

No sachin for Tri-series

The national selection panel meets on Friday to pick the team for next month's ODI tri-series in Bangladesh and the subsequent Asia Cup in Pakistan amid speculation that youngsters who have done well in the Indian Premier League might be given a chance.

The tri-series in Bangladesh will be held from June 8-14 and would be followed by the Asia Cup in Pakistan. The five-member selection panel led by Chief Selector Dilip Vengsarkar will also have to decide on the fate of senior players Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.

The two former India skippers were not picked for the last ODI series played by India, the triangular series in Australia that India won for the first time by a comprehensive 2-0 margin over the reigning world champions in this format of the game.

Well a couple of names missing from those batting and bowling lists are those of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. And those two are also likely to be missing from the Indian team for the tri-series in Bangladesh next month.

A lot would depend on what ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni wishes as also the inputs from coach Gary Kirsten. The duo is scheduled to attend the meeting at the Cricket Board's headquarters here.

But the sources have told NDTV that Tendulkar will not be included in the team for Bangladesh. Sourav Ganguly is also unlikely to find a place. That's because the selectors are looking to pick a young team for both tournaments.

The Bangalore and Kolkata teams led by Dravid and Ganguly failed to sparkle in the IPL and have been knocked out of the competition before the semi-final stage.

The other two opening slots perforce seem to have been nailed by Gautam Gambhir and his Delhi Ranji and IPL skipper Virender Sehwag, with their strong showing in the Twenty20 league.

Swapnil Asnodkar, the Goa Ranji opener, could also be discussed following his flamboyant approach in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals.

Dravid faces competition from younger and fitter rivals like Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Venugopal Rao and S Badrinath but, in the likely absence of in-form and injured batsman Rohit Sharma, could just squeeze his way in because of his vast experience.

The selectors are expected to look long and hard over the multi-faceted cricketers like Yousuf Pathan, who can also fill in the off spinner's slot in the absence of the banned Harbhajan Singh, and Abhishek Nair, a handy lower order batsman and useful medium pacer.