Anil Kumble will lead a near-India team in the upcoming Zal Irani Trophy match against last season Ranji Trophy Champions Delhi. The Rest of India squad has most of the regular Indian Test players with a couple of significant omissions in the form of Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh. Ganguly’s absence in the squad leads to speculations whether the Selectors have decided to make him the causality to rope in some young blood in the batting. The Selectors have also named an India A squad for the Tri-Series which also features the A teams of Australia and New Zealand. S Badrinath has been named as the Captain of this team.
The Rest of India squad was expected to be a warm-up match for the Test players before the big series against Australia in October. Ganguly has been ignored because of his limited fielding abilities along with his moderate success this year in Test Cricket. The 36-year-old if dropped for the 1st Test will find it difficult to get back into the team this time round as he is only getting older by the day and the Selectors have a bit of urgency to give sufficient exposure at the Test level for some of the promising youngsters such as Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Badrinath and of course Yuvraj Singh. The Selectors have hinted that Yuvraj Singh was not included because of his fitness as he is having a bad knee. The Indian middle order has been blocked with the presence of the so-called Fab Four consisting of Dravid, Sachin, Ganguly and Laxman. But this time, the Selectors seemed to have a plan in breaking that Fab Four especially the way they came out croppers against Ajantha Mendis in comparison with some of the younger players, who looked pretty well against the same bowler.
The squad has a surprise pick in Bengal’s Ashok Dinda, who impressed one and all with his pace of over 140 kmph in the IPL. Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and RP Singh are the other pacers in the squad with Zaheer likely to be rested. There is also space for Mohammad Kaif in the middle order with the other younger batsmen getting picked for the Australia A Series. Meanwhile, the Selectors have given ample opportunity for the Indian One Day players to warm up by including them in the India A team for the Tri-Series.
The 5-day Irani Trophy match will be held at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara from the 24th of this month.
Rest of India Squad: Anil Kumble (Captain), Wasim Jaffer, Parthiv Patel, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Mohammad Kaif, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Wicket Keeper), Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, RP Singh, Ashok Dinda
India A Squad for Tri-Series: S Badrinath (Captain), Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa, Swapnil Asnodkar, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik (Wicket Keeper), Abhishek Nayar, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Piyush Chawla, DB Ravi Teja, Yusuf Pathan, Jaydev Shah, Wriddhiman Saha (Wicket Keeper)