Sanjay Bangar eyes Test recall next season

Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Railways skipper Sanjay Bangar is hoping for a Test recall for next season on the back of some good display in the national domestic championship which helped his team Railways clinch the Ranji Trophy for the second time in the last four years.

"I am pretty hopeful of a comeback. I had a good season. I made 650-odd runs and took 25 wickets in domestic cricket. I have next season's Irani Cup tie (Railways vs Rest of India) to look upon and stake my claim for a Test place before our next series," Bangar said.

The opening spot still looks not completely cemented by Gautam Gambhir who has clicked off and on but is yet to establish himself as the rightful partner for swashbuckling and highly successfull Virender Sehwag.

It is this fact that helps Bangar nurture his hopes of a Test comeback after being discarded in favour of younger rivals following the disastrous Indian tour of New Zealand.

"I am aiming for the second opener's spot as well as the third seam bowler's slot," said the utility player whose dogged batting at the top of the order had been praised by pundits till his sudden departure from the scene.

Bangar at 32 is not a spring chicken and went out of Test reckoning after flopping like so many other team-mates on the seaming pitches of New Zealand in December 2002 prior to the World Cup in South Africa in early 2003.

He made the trip to Australia later that year but did not get a look-in in any of the four Tests in the hard-fought rubber which was drawn 1-1.

"I lost my place in the Indian squad after two bad Tests in New Zealand where everyone failed. Before that, I was averaging around 37. It's a good achievement," said the lanky Beed (Maharashtra)-born player.

"I don't want to dwell too much on the past but am pretty satisfied in helping my team win the Ranji Trophy and doing well in the Duleep Trophy this season," he said.

Bangar's Test average, after the series in New Zealand, dipped to below 30 and that is where it stands now after 12 Tests. He has a century and three fifties to his credit and has seven wickets under his belt at a modest average of 49 per wicket.

Bangar made the trip to Australia, played in two VB series limited overs international matches but failed to impress and the tie against Zimbabwe at Adelaide, in which he made a duck, was the last occasion he turned out for India at the international level.

In the last eight ODIs, he has failed to cross double figure and his modest wicket haul in the shortened version of the game has made him realise that his chances of getting back into the team in the ODI are very slim.

But Bangar feels his Railways-mate Jai Prakash Yadav is worthy of a look-in in the One-day game for India with his hard-hitting prowess and medium pace bowling.

"I really don't know what criteria is applied when choosing the One-day squad but I feel Yadav definitely deserves a spot in the Indian team," said Bangar.

"He's a good all-rounder but has not got a look-in yet which is surprising," he added.

Bangar said age should not be a factor which dictates the inclusion of him or Yadav, who is 30 years old, in the Indian squad.

"That should not be the case. It has to be based on fitness only," Bangar added.

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