Laxman, Zaheer, Balaji have points to prove

Published: Wednesday, October 19, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Vadodara:One-day International discards Venkatasai Laxman, Zaheer Khan and Lakshmipathi Balaji have a golden chance to impress the national selectors with winsome performances when South Zone take on West Zone in the four-day Duleep Trophy league tie commencing here tomorrow.

All three have been ignored by the senior selection committee when it chose the Indian team for the forthcoming first two ODIs against Sri Lanka and the longer version of the game gives them the platform to showcase their wares at the Motibaug palace ground.

South, led by Laxman, would miss the services of veteran leg spinner Anil Kumble, who has skipped the tie because he's recovering from an injury, and his place has been taken by Sreekumar Nair of Kerala, who bowls left arm slow.

West, with Sairaj Bahutule at the helm, would be depending a lot on Zaheer's firepower to get at South's top order which has an array of strokemakers in Robin Uthappa, whoimpressed in the recent Challenger Trophy, Barrington Rowland, Laxman and Hemang Badani.

The left arm paceman, who would be doubly keen to impress the selectors that he's still a force to be reckoned with, would have seam support in the form of Munaf Patel, who hasswitched allegianace from Mumbai to Maharashtra, and either Rakesh Patel or Sidharth Trivedi.

Likewise Balaji, who has done precious little to impress the selectors of late, would be striving to regain his India berth and is expected to get seam-up suport from his TamilNadu mate R Jesuraj and Andhra's K S Shahabuddin.

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