Senior players Virender Sehwag,Zaheer Khan,Harbhajan Singh and 25-year-old Test No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara were left out of India’s 30-member preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy to be played in England and Wales from June 6 to 23. The final squad,however,will be of 15.
Pujara was the most notable omission. He was in the ODI squad for the home series against England but didn’t get a game. But considering that he scored runs during the four-match Test series versus Australia,and that too at a brisk pace when required,Pujara was expected to make the list.
However,according to a source,Pujara has not been included because he is set to lead the India A side for the tour of South Africa which is likely to clash with the Champions Trophy. India play a Test series in South Africa at the end of the year,and the selectors are keen that Pujara gets better exposure to the conditions during the India A tour rather than play in the Champions Trophy.
“It’s important that Pujara gets a feel of the South African conditions before the Test series. The ‘A’ team tour dates haven’t been finalised yet. If the dates don’t clash with the Champions Trophy then Pujara can make the final squad,” said the source.
The final 15 can be picked from outside the list of probables,the source said. As for Sehwag,Harbhajan and Zaheer,it would be extremely difficult for them to get back into the ODI squad. Sehwag was ignored for the home series against England. Zaheer was dropped after the Kolkata Test against England and then picked a hamstring injury while playing the Ranji Trophy. Harbhajan hasn’t played an ODI since June 2011.
With the selectors keen on building a team for the 2015 World Cup,they are unlikely to fall back on the discards unless they are forced to. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha too was not included but he could be a part of the India A team to tour South Africa.
The selection committee focused on youth,selecting youngsters like Unmukt Chand,Parvez Rasool,Kedar Jadhav,Jalaj Saxena,Ishwar Pandey and Siddharth Kaul. Irfan Pathan was included as was also leg-spinner Amit Mishra. After Shikhar Dhawan’s blitzkrieg at Mohali,his inclusion was just a formality.
Probables: Murali Vijay,Shikhar Dhawan,Gautam Gambhir,Unmukt Chand,Virat Kohli,Yuvraj Singh,Suresh Raina,Rohit Sharma,Manoj Tiwary,Ajinkya Rahane,Ambati Rayudu,Kedar Jadhav,Mahendra Singh Dhoni,Wriddhiman Saha,Dinesh Karthik,Ravichandran Ashwin,Amit Mishra,Ravindra Jadeja,Jalaj Saxena,Parvez Rasool,Ishant Sharma,Bhuvneshwar Kumar,Ashok Dinda,Umesh Yadav,Shami Ahmed,Irfan Pathan,R V Kumar,Praveen Kumar,Ishwar Pandey,Sidharth Kaul.
Will grab chance if I get it: Rasool
PUNE: The grin just does not escape Parvez Rasool’s face all day on Saturday,and for good reason. The 24-year-old has received the news that he was included in the 30-man probables list for the India team that will play in the Champions Trophy in England in June and the Kashmiri has had minimal control over his facial muscles since.
“Nothing can top playing for your country and I am thankful that the selectors have shown their faith in me,” he says.
Rasool had a breakthrough Ranji season scoring 594 runs and taking 27 wickets. What however was the turning point in his career,he says,was his seven wicket haul in a tour game for Board Presidents XI against Australia. “I don’t think I have ever bowled better than that day. I turned the ball considerably and troubled experienced international batsman,” he says.
Currently representing the Pune Warriors IPL team,Rasool views the tournament as a a platform for bigger things.”A lot of players have made their way into the national team after proving themselves here. I have been working hard and I am ready to grab my chance when I get it,” he says.
The 24-year-old says that he is happy to have proven his state coach,Bishen Singh Bedi,right. “Bedi sir had said that if there is anyone from J&K who can play for the country,its Parvez. I am glad to have taken a step in that direction,” he says.
Rasool also says that this inclusion and his IPL stint will help cricket grow in his home-state. “We don’t have too many facilities. We have to travel outside the state to get the chance to play regular cricket all through the year. However,with the Champions Trophy probables call and the IPL experience,I think things are going to change back home,” he says. Chinmay Brahme