Irani Trophy Preview - Railways

The annual five-day season opener between the Ranji Champions (Railways) and the Rest-of-India starts in about a few hours from now at the Karnail Singh Stadium in New Delhi.

Railways: Sanjay Bangar (Captain), Murali Kartik, Amit Pagnis, T.P. Singh, J.P. Yadav, Raja Ali, Yere Goud, Vineet Saxena, Sudhir Wankhede, K. Parida and Harvinder Singh.

The final eleven has been announced. With the exception for Murali Karthik (who has just returned from the county circuit after a couple of really good games for Lancashire), I dont really see anybody in that lineup who would be able to push for a place in the Indian test side.

Sanjay Bangar had a decent run at the international level, but India is no longer looking for a make-shift opening batsman who can bowl wicket-to-wicket medium pacers. Harvinder Singh did alright in the ODIs that he played, but he was never really good enough (or lucky enough) to play regularly for the Indian test side. Amit Pagnis used to be one of the most promising junior cricketers in the country - he is now into his tenth year in first class cricket and he is yet to realize his immense potential. Wicket-keeper Sudhir Wankede is too old at 30, to compete with the youngsters like Dhoni, Kaarthick, Parthiv and Ratra. Kulamani Parida is arguably amongst the top 3 off-spinners in the country and has had his name do the usual rounds many a time at the selectors table, without any luck. Jai P Yadav, with his big-hitting and disciplined bowling might have a good future in the ODIs, but even he should know that his chances of making the test team are zilch.

Inspite of their limited individual abilities, they are an excellent team - the best in the country. They would be really keen to do a double and win this trophy and in the process prove a point or two to the selectors.

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