Thatscricket- Cricket News - South Zone lose injured Dravid, Kumble; Laxman to lead

Published: Wednesday, January 3, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Vijayawada: Stylish player V V S Laxman will lead South Zone as injured Rahul Dravid backed out from their crucial opening league tie against title-holders North Zone in the Duleep Trophy cricket tournament which gets under way at the Indira Gandhi Municipal stadium here on Thursday.South Zone suffered another setback with leg spinner Anil Kumble also withdrawing as he is yet to fully recover from injury. He will be replaced by former Test player and left-arm spinner S L Venkatapathy Raju of Hyderabad. Goan wicket-keeper-batsman Tanveer Jabbar will play in place Dravid.North Zone too received a jolt as medium-pacers Ashish Nehra and Gagandeep Singh will not be playing the match. There has been a death in Nehra's family, while Gagandeep has been selected to represent the country in the Under-19 cricket Test match against the visiting England side.Opener Vikram Rathod, who is leading North Zone, is of the opinion that a total of 400-plus would be ideal for the team which bats first. ''Thus, winning the toss will be vital,'' he added. He said the absence of Ashish and Gagandeep would not be felt much as he expected off-spinners Harbajan Singh and Sharandeep Singh to be among the wickets and also restrict the talented South Zone batsmen.The mainstay of the North zone batting would be Rathod himself apart from Ashish Chopra and Yuveraj Singh. ''Virender Sehwag, wicket-keeper-batsman Vijay Dahiya and Dinesh Mongia are expected to come good with the bat,'' he noted.UNI

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