Heres the Rest of India squad, as annonced, to play against Mumbai in
the upcoming 2003-2004 Irani Trophy:
Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sanjay Bangar, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman,
Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, L Balaji, Amit
Bhandari, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Murali Kartik, Rohan Gavaskar
The surprise inclusions are those of Yuvraj Singh and Rohan Gavaskar.
Neither, imho, deserves to be in the squad based on performances in the
longer version of the game.
I had anticipated at least two (if not all three) of Sriram, Gambhir,
and Das to play the game (to check out the openers for the upcoming
international commitments). With Jaffer opening for Mumbai, this may
have been a good "Test" launch pad for the potential openers. This squad
indicates that Bangar and Sehwag are still being looked at as the
openers and that is not the right way to go - definitely not a long-term
solution to the problems with the opening spots.
Also surprising is the omission of Amit Mishra. Kumble is clearly in the
autumn of his career and Mishra is being spoken of as his replacement.
This would have been the ideal time to test him out for the longer
version of the game. I understand that Kumble is still a contender,
especially for Tests on Indian soil. But the series against New Zealand
may be the right time to introduce Amit Mishra and groom him, as opposed
to throwing him against the wolves (reference : the series against
Australia). With Kumble's inclusion, Kartik may have to sit out and that
may not be the best thing to happen. But I guess, that's my personal
bias against Kumble speaking.
Bhandari gets in, I think, based on his domestic performances and the
performance for the "A" squad. I would have liked to see Pathan play
this game. But that again is a marginal call and Pathan may have to wait
for his turn.
Ambrish "Mumbai to win the Irani Trophy" Sundaram