Unmukt Chands show at the recently concluded under-19 World Cup may have won the most accolades,a show that saw him being fast-tracked into the India A side,but on Monday,three other members from the victorious team Harmeet Singh,Baba Aparajith and Sandeep Sharma were rewarded with places in the upcoming Challenger Trophy,Indias premier domestic one-day tournament.
In his last meeting as the chairman of the national selection committee,Kris Srikkanth and his group of selectors ensured that the most promising members of the age-group side were also given their due,as they will now be seen rubbing shoulders with the big wigs of Indian cricket in the triangular series that will be held in Rajkot from September 29 onwards.
Harmeet,the left-arm spinner from Mumbai,was also picked in the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup,a team that will be captained by Cheteshwar Pujara.
Pujara,meanwhile,will also captain the two other Cup winning colts in the Challenger Trophy (one that will be played in his hometown) as Sandeep and Aparajith have been named along with Harmeet in the Pujaras India B squad.
Medium-pacer Sandeep scalped four wickets in the U-19 final against Australia and was also the over all leading wicket-taker for India with 12 during the biennial in Townsville,while Aparajith dazzled with bat and ball,notching up impressive performances with both during the tight quarterfinals against Pakistan. Over all,his 171 runs and five wickets didnt go unnoticed by the selection committee.
Meanwhile,the Irani Cup will be played in Bangalore,thanks to the rainfall in Jaipur the home city of Ranji winners Rajasthan. But at the Chinnaswamy Stadium,one player in the ROI squad will feel at home Karnatakas Stuart Binny.
All-rounder Binny has earned his ROI call-up the hard way,as he scored 742 runs and took 20 wickets during the 2011-12 Ranji season. And there is a good chance that he might feature in the game,considering both Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel have been ignored by the selectors. These two national medium-pacers,however,will participate in the Challengers.
In place of these experienced names,the fast bowling unit in ROI includes Delhis Parvinder Awana and Ishant Sharma (who was benched during the recently concluded New Zealand Test series),Karnatakas Abhimanyu Mithun and Vidarbhas Umesh Yadav,who had a good outing against t he Kiwis.
Meanwhile,Test squad members Ajinkya Rahane and S Badrinath will get to open their seasons accounts having sat out during the NZ series. The selectors have also included TN opener Murali Vijay and Delhis equivalent in Shikhar Dhawan,both of whom last played for India in the West Indies last year. Also finding their names in the ROI list are Barodas Yusuf Pathan and Hyderabads Pragyan Ojha.
It is reliably learnt that selector Srikkanth also consulted with Sachin Tendulkar to check if he wanted to shake off off-season rust in the Irani Cup,but apparently the batsman wasnt interested.
The squads: Irani Cup – Rest of India: C Pujara (c),M Vijay,A Rahane,S Badrinath,D Karthik,W Saha,Y Pathan,P Ojha,P Awana,I Sharma,U Yadav,S Dhawan,S Binny,A Mithun,Harmeet; Challenger Series – India A: S Badrinath (c),A Rahane,S Dhawan,R Uthappa,D Karthik,M Pandey,Y Pathan,I Sharma,P Awana,A Mithun,P Ojha,I Abdulla,H Patel,U Birla; India B: C Pujara (c),M Vijay,S Anirudh,K Jadhav,R Bist,S Binny,R Jadeja,B Aparajith,P Kumar,U Yadav,M Patel,Harmeet ,R Motwani,S Sharma.