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Sunday, June 03, 2007

India's tour to England and Ireland

The Indian team is back after their successful tour to Bangladesh. The senior players are busy in discussions with the Board on the contract issues. The Board themselves is busy trying to select whom to give the coaching honors (by 4th). The seven-man committee is supposed to meet and select the coach. Officially, only Dav Whatmore's name has been mentioned in various discussions. Who are his rivals for the coaching post, is anyone's guess. Sunil Gavaskar has, as his wont, expressed his intentions of having an Indian coach. Ravi Shastri has refused to continue the post any further. The coach, when selected, will definitely have a meeting with the senior players (Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble) to understand their opinions. The senior players have also asked for additional tour games during the Australian tour later this year, but the Board couldnt slot in any game because of the intense schedule that the Indian team has, as per the current plan.

From the 4th of June, the key players who would be decided for the tours of Ireland and England would be involved in camps at Mysore. The date for the selection meeting to name the Indian squads for the England tour haven't been decided yet, but looks like it will happen in the first week of the selection of the coach. After their popular measures (to drop/rest senior players) during the Bangla tour, the selectors would have to call up the same players again, as they have not got any alternatives to name.

The Indian Board has called up 14 bowlers and 15 batsmen to attend the camps
Batsmen - Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Wasim Jaffer, VVS Laxman, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Mongia, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Kartik, Rohit Sharma, Mohammad Kaif, S Badrinath and Yuvraj Singh.

Bowlers - Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, V R V Singh, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Ranadeb Bose, Munaf Patel, Anil Kumble, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha.

It looks like there would be separate teams chosen for the ODI and the test series during the forthcoming tour. Whether the selectors will be brave once again remains to be seen. 8 batsmen and 8 bowlers might be called for both the teams. A look at who might make the cut, is interesting.

ODI Series - Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Kartik and Yuvraj Singh would be the favorites to make the cut. Sachin, Sourav and Sehwag will make it to the team as experience would be the basis of team selection now. Mohammad Kaif might be the surprise weapon that the selectors might try to pick because of his experience on the English soil. From the bowlers, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, V R V Singh, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Ramesh Powar would be chosen ahead of the others. Either Irfan Pathan or Ranadeb Bose would be chosen as the 8th bowler, based on the confidence they display in the camp.

For the test series in England, experience would be definitely key for selecting the players. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Wasim Jaffer, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Kartik, and Yuvraj Singh would be the favorites to be selected. Virender Sehwag or Mohammad Kaif might get a chance if he proves his form in the ODIs. Rohit Sharma, S Badrinath would at best be stand-byes for the test tour. Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, V R V Singh, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Anil Kumble, Ramesh Powar would be the
first-choice bowlers for the test tour. Piyush Chawla might be slotted in for experience of the English greens.

Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwari, Ranadeb Bose, S Badrinath are players who would feel unlucky to be left out of the tours. They have performed very well of late in domestic cricket - but, see that their options to appear as part of the Indian colors, as remote.
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