Focus on Srinath as 'five wise men' pick ODI squad

Published: Saturday, June 8, 2002, 0:53 [IST]
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Kolkata: With India's 2-1 victory over West Indies in the One-dayers at the Caribbean still fresh in memory, the national selectors meet here on Saturday to select the squad for the triangular series in England beginning later this month.

Though skipper Saurav Ganguly is expected to be present, coach John Wright, now holidaying in London, would skip the meet to be presided over by selection committee chairman Chandu Borde. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Niranjan Shah is scheduled to announce the touring party in the afternoon after the quintet of selectors deliberate on the composition of the 15-member team.

The meeting, earlier scheduled to be held in Mumbai, was shifted to the city on Thursday, ostensibly to pave the way for BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya's tete-a- tete with selectors before the team selection. The triangular series from June 27 to July 13 includes Sri Lanka besides England. The Indians, who leave the home shores early on June 8, would also take part in a four-match Test series against England in the second half of the gruelling 83-day tour. The team for the Tests would be announced later.

A piece of good news for the selectors is that specialist wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra and medium pacer Ashish Nehra, who were suffering from minor ailments, have passed the fitness test. The fitness of master batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who suffered a shoulder injury in the West Indies, and leggie Anil Kumble, who underwent a jaw operation recently, are also being constantly monitored, BCCI sources said. While most players, who did duty in the West Indies, are likely to make the cut, it would be interesting to see whether the five wise men entrust Rahul Dravid with the additional responsibility behind the stumps.

Dravid had donned the gloves during the One-day series in the Caribbean, earning praise from Ganguly for his performance. ''We are looking at him to keep that up till the World Cup and I'm pretty sure that he will improve as he goes on,'' Ganguly said in his syndicated column this week. With speedster Javagal Srinath already announcing his decision to retire from Test cricket but expressing willingness to play the limited version of the game, it would also be interesting to see whether the national selectors pick him for the triangulars.

Cricketing circles feel that the board top brass might also utilise the opportunity to make an appeal to speedster Javagal Srinath to reconsider his decision to retire from Test cricket. Ganguly has already said that he would try to persuade Srinath to reverse his stand.

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