Dada quits Ranji captaincy, keen for SA safari

Published: Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:Sourav Ganguly today stepped aside as the skipper for Bengals second match against Mumbai in Ranji Trophy indicating serious chances of his selection into the Test squad for South Africa.

The Ranji Trophy match between Bengal and Mumbai gets underway at the Eden Gardens from Dec 1. Vice-captain Deep Dasgupta has been made skipper of the match.

However, Ganguly has been included in the Ranji team with Kamal Hassan Mondal as a standby in case he is selected for the test squad to South Africa.

The CAB think-tank met in the evening to decide on the team. Deep Dasgupta walked in with the administrators. CAB Secretary Saradindu Pal while talking to UNI, said, ''Sourav has stepped aside as captain for this match and Deep Dasgupta has been named skipper.''

Sources close to Ganguly said he had already expressed his desire to step aside as the Ranji Captain after his prospects of travelling with the team to South Africa increased. The CAB also wanted to make the road smoother for him.

Earlier, CAB President Jagmohan Dalmiya appealed to the BCCI for reconsidering Sourav Ganguly for the national squad and added that based on his form and merit, he deserves to be in the side.

India's stuttering form in the one-day arena might prove to be a blessing in disguise for the former Indian skipper who looks set for a recall into the Test side, nine months after he was unceremoniously chucked out of the squad following the Karachi debacle.

Experience may be the key-word that the selectors may be banking on after the likes of Suresh Raina, Mohammad Kaif and Dinesh Mongia failed to make the transition on the lively tracks in South Africa.

Ganguly has a Duleep Trophy ton to back him and the fact that he is itching to make a comeback and show his class may prompt the selectors to give him another chance.

Selectors Dilip Vengsarkar, Venkatpati Raju, Sanjay Jagdale, Ranjib Biswal and Bhupinder Singh would meet tomorrow to select the team.

With Rahul Dravid not certain to play in the opening Test, Ganguly could join VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar in the middle order for what is likely to be a tremendous test of the depth in India's batting resources.

Another contender for a middle-order berth is S Badrinath , the Tamil Nadu middle-order batsman and captain. Badri scored 636 runs from 7 matches in the last Ranji season. But the only reason he may lose the edge to Ganguly is because the former India skipper is a seasoned performer and has loads of experience and maturity to back him.

When Ganguly and Laxman were originally eased out, amid India's successes in the one-day arena, expectation was that the likes of Raina would evolve into taking up the mantle at the highest level.

But with the team struggling in recent months, the runs have dried up and a stint in domestic cricket is thought to be the right medicine to get them back to form.


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