Challenger Series - The missing names

List of players who played in last year's edition and are missing out this year : Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble, Ashish Nehra, Gagandeep Singh, Rajesh Pawar, Yusuf Pathan, SS Paul, Rohan Gavaskar, Joginder Sharma and Ambati Rayudu.

Dravid and Viru are away in Australia, playing for the World XI. Kumble is supposed to have some sort of a niggle - if the selectors think that this is the end of the road for him with respect to the ODIs, they should let him know about it. I personally think he can play a definite role as the super-sub on helpful wickets. Nehra is still nursing the injury that he sustained in Zimbabwe - the coach thinks that he needs to be disciplined, but he has been the best of the lot in recent tournaments and so he would get to play as soon as he passes his fitness test.

Gavaskar Jr has rapidly gone out of favour within an year's span and unless his Dad becomes the chief of selectors and displays some blatant nepotism, his career at the international level is over (There are way too many spin bowling all-rounders in the country). Gagandeep Singh and SS Paul, both well built pacemen - got to warm the benches at the senior level last year without getting a game. A season later, (Gagandeep took 46 wickets at 17.58 and Paul took 34 wickets at 20.58) they find themselves out of contention. Not sure what Amit Bhandari did to merit a place ahead of these two. Joginder Sharma, one of the stars of last year's challenger series, did get to play 3 ODIs against Bangladesh. He didn't grab his opportunities there and he finds himself out of reckoning this year. Left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar and Leg spinner Yusuf Pathan (Irfan's brother) did not exactly set the stage on fire this season, and as a result they have missed out.

Ambati Rayudu had a terrible season with the bat last season. He scored just 155 runs in 7 matches at 11.92 for Hyderabad. He is in the process of moving to Andhra and hopefully that would help him in getting back to prime form. He is still very young (turned 21 last month), he still has loads and loads of potential and is way too good to be losing his way like this. He has been touted as the next best thing for quite some time now and I really really hope that he would not end up being someone like Amol Muzumdar.

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