Sourav Ganguly set for return to Tests

Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday stepped down as Bengal captain to pave the way for his expected return to the Indian Test squad. Speculation is rife about Ganguly’s imminent comeback and a sudden shift of venue for the selection committee meeting, due on Thursday, has added grist to the mill.

The team for the South Africa Test series was to be picked in Mumbai on Thursday, but the venue has now been changed to New Delhi. This is to enable the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Mr Sharad Pawar, to interact with the Dilip Vengsarkar-led selection committee. A BCCI directive on the former India captain appears to be on the cards.

Ganguly’s chances have also brightened after coach Greg Chappell’s reported remarks that he wouldn’t mind if the Bengal left-hander was considered for the Test squad. Chappell, in any case, is not in a position to call the shots against the backdrop of a dismal tour so far.

It is learnt that the majority of selectors opting to send V.V.S. Laxman for the injured Rahul Dravid was a fair indication that Ganguly is on his way back. In 11 Tests against the Proteas, Ganguly has scored 522 runs at an average of 27.47, with 73 being his highest.

His ODI record against the same country, however, is excellent. Ganguly has three centuries and eight half-centuries in 26 one-dayers, with a total of 1,240 runs and an average of 53.91. In the current domestic season, he has a century against North Zone in the Duleep Trophy and scored a fighting 43 in the second innings on a difficult Mohali wicket against Punjab in the Ranji Trophy opener.

On Wednesday, the former India captain had a rigorous practice session with his Bengal teammates. It commenced in the morning and stretched well past noon. A couple of new light bats which he has added to his kit appeared to be doing fine at the nets. And his hallmark, the timing, was there as he unleashed some delectable front and backfoot strokes. Ganguly last played for India against Pakistan in the third Test in Karachi earlier this year.

Also in line are for a callup are Tamil Nadu batsman S. Badrinath and Punjab fast-medium bowler V.R.V. Singh. The race is a tight one between Aakash Chopra and Gautam Gambhir for the third opener’s slot, while left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra could be a dark horse.

Meanwhile, Deep Dasgupta will replace Ganguly as Bengal captain in the forthcoming Ranji tie against Mumbai at the Eden Gardens here from December 1 to 4. Kamal Hasan Mondal has been kept as standby in case Ganguly gets the callup.

Source: Deccan Chronicle


San said…
Good choice in my opinion :)

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