Challenger Trophy 2006 - India Blue

Blues: Rahul Dravid (capt), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Mongia, Wasim Jaffer, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Munaf Patel, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ravindra Jadeja. Coach: Ian Frazer

Last year, the team was called the "Airtel India Seniors". Dravid and Sehwag were away playing the farcical Super Series in Australia. Ganguly was supposed to captain, but he pulled out at the last minute and Kaif did the honours.

The seniors are playing a near-to-full strength squad this year. Sachin is expected to miss the first game and Wasim Jaffer has been selected to be the reserve opener for that game. Jaffer is a really good test opener and can play strokes all round the wicket, but he is not the best of movers in the outfield (and also between the wickets). Greg Chappell has this notion that a good international cricket team is one which has very little difference between its test and ODI squads and that is probably the only reason why Jaffer finds his name in this team. I would have picked someone like Shikar Dhawan instead. It would also be interesting to see if Dravid would open the innings.

Saurashtra's Ravindra Jadeja (no connection with Ajay), the promising under-19 left-arm spinner has been named as the second spinner and it would be a great experience for the lad (he isn't 18 yet) to share the dressing room with the seniors.

For Irfan Pathan, the bowler (he doesn't need to bat at No.3 even in this tournament, does he?), this is a good opportunity to get some of that lost confidence back. He wasn't in the team's preferred top 5 bowlers in Malaysia and for someone who had a great season last year with the ball, that is bound to hurt. It wouldn't also hurt if both Viru and Yuvi manage to get a few half-centuries between them before the ICC knock-out tournament.

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