Irani Trophy 2006 - The Rest of India Squad

Team: Wasim Jaffer (capt), Venugopal Rao (vice-capt), Robin Uthapa, Gautam Gambhir, S Badrinath, Dinesh Kaarthick, V R V Singh, S Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Murali Kartik, P Ojha, Rohit Sharma, Sourashish Lahiri, Yo Mahesh.

The squad includes 10 players from the India Red side that was selected for the NKP Salve Challenger Series. Except for Ramesh Powar, Tej Pal Singh and Raghu, everybody else from the Reds gets a look in.

Openers: Jaffer, Gambhir, Uthappa
Jaffer seems to have been selected to give him some match practice ahead of the new season. Gambhir and Uthappa are currently the 2 preferred reserve openers, so no surprises there.

Middle Order: Rao, Badrinath, Rohit Sharma
They have all done well in the recent past and get one more opportunity to further their cases. There is no place for Sourav Ganguly in that batting lineup.

Wicket-Keeper: Dinesh Kaarthick
No surprises there. Kaarthick is easily the best wicket-keeper in the country. (He is not the best wicket-keeper-batsman yet.)

Seamers: Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, VRV Singh, Yo Mahesh
Each of those first three names hopes to be selected for the South African tour and this would be a good game to impress the selectors. Tamil Nadu's Yo Mahesh(one of the stars of this year's under-19 world cup) is the surprise inclusion. I doubt if he would get to play in the final XI barring any injury to anyone from the preferred trio.

Spinners: Murali Karthik, Sourashish Lahiri, Pragyan Ojha
Murali Karthik would surely play. He is coming back from an injury and would be keen on showing that he is better than Ramesh Powar. Lahiri has nothing to lose. Young Ojha's selection is interesting - Venkatapathy Raju had to select someone from Hyderabad in his first meeting as a selector? To Raju's credit, Pragyan bowls slow left arm chinaman and there haven't really been too many Indian spinners who do that and it is always good to have some variety in the reserves.

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Blogger worma 6:09 AM

Pawar is not there because Irani coincides with Champion's Trophy - I think Pawar is one of our confirmed spin reserve for the world cup, no matter what Karthik may prove.

And when you say that SreeSanth would be 'hoping' to find a place for the SA tour, surely you are joking, right? After the way he came back in the WI test series, there is no way he can be dropped from tests.

But yes, between VRV and Zaheer, there seems to be a good rivalry. SreeSanth is there simply because he is best of the 'rest of India not playing in Champions Trophy'. Otherwise I would have preferred Balaji. Infact, even now I would have preferred him over Yomahesh.

Jaffer is not selected to give practise, he is the best opener available for selection. Remember, this is not a limited overs game.

For the same reason, I would have given Saurav another chance - afterall he had a decent domestic season last year.

Ojha, from what I read, is fairly good and anyway the spinners above him in the reckoning are from UP, or already here. Maybe Nadeem could have been there, but Ojha did better last season.    

Blogger vishnupavan 6:40 AM

Worma, Guess you misunderstood a few things from the text..

Historically, the Rest of India teams aren't always selected from the best available. They are usually used as trials for good prospects. It is a bit different this year. Jaffer is the current No.1 choice for partnering Sehwag in tests and there is no dispute there. He is definitely going to open in South Africa. So the only reason for making him play this game is to give him some match practice ahead of the crucial tours.. (the norm would have been to just ask Gambhir and Uthappa to open)..

Sreesanth did well in West Indies and I would be very disappointed if he doesn't play the first test in South Africa.. But for him personally as someone who has been dropped from the ODI team, nothing would seem certain. He would want to put to rest any doubts about his credentials in this game.. I would select him ahead of RP any day..

Again, I never said Karthik was selected for this game ahead of Powar.. Powar is as you said the current "third best spinner" (talking about tests)in the country as per the selectors' notes.. Karthik would be keen on changing that..

Agree on SOurav.. I would have tempted to select him.. anyway the Duleep trophy is coming up and Sourav will have his chances..

About Ojha.. yes he is a good prospect.. yes he was among wickets last year.. but still with Raju in the selectors team, questions are bound to be asked when a Hyderabadi gets selected over some one from the East zone (Nadeem) :) - having said that, the selectors probably did not want to select two left arm orthodox spinners...    

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