Indian opener Gautam Gambhir’s fitness for the ICC Champions Trophy will be assessed on Thursday. The left-hander had missed the Compaq Cup in Sri Lanka due to a groin injury.
The National selection panel, headed by Krishnamachari Srikkanth, met in Chennai on Wednesday to pick the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy game against Ranji champion Mumbai to be held at Nagpur from October 1 to 5.
Virender Sehwag, back after a lengthy absence owing to a shoulder injury, will lead the Rest of India side. “He is an extremely valuable batsman for us, and means a lot to the Indian team. We are all eager to watch him play after his surgery. I am confident he would be back at his best,” said Srikkanth to The Hindu.
S. Badrinath will be Sehwag’s deputy. M. Vijay is likely to open with Sehwag. Young left-hander Abhinav Mukund is the back-up opener in the squad. Badrinath, Virat Kohli, Manoj Tiwary and Ravindra Jadeja form the middle-order.
Irfan Pathan receives an opportunity to impress the wise men as a pace bowling all-rounder. Paceman S. Sreesanth is back too after grappling with injuries and indifferent form. Sreesanth, Munaf Patel and Irfan form a competitive pace attack. Lanky paceman Sudeep Tyagi also gets a look-in.
Left-armer Pragyan Ojha is the lone specialist spinner in the squad. All-rounder Jadeja, who sends down left-arm spin as well, could team up with Ojha.
Wriddiman Saha will be the wicket-keeper batsman. Apart from Mukund, Kedar Jadhav and the left-handed Uday Kaul are the young batsmen in the side.
Raina to lead Green
The Challenger Series one-day matches will also be staged in Nagpur, from October 8 to 11. Mahendra Singh Dhoni will lead India Blue, while Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina will skipper India Red and Green respectively.
The teams include some exciting fresh faces in aggressive batsman Ishant Jaggi and off-spinning all-rounder S. Suresh Kumar.
Cricketers such as ace batsman V.V.S. Laxman (Deccan Chargers) and leggie Piyush Chawla (Sussex) who would be involved in the Champions League will not be part of the teams.
Irani Trophy: Rest of India: Virender Sehwag (capt.), S. Badrinath (vice-capt.), M. Vijay, Virat Kohli, Manoj Tiwary, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Wriddiman Saha, S. Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Pragyan Ojha, Kedar Jadhav, Abhinav Mukund, Uday Kaul and Sudeep Tyagi.
Challenger Series: India Blue: M.S. Dhoni (capt.), Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Jaffer, Jalaj Saxena, Suresh Kumar, Kedar Jadhav, Abhishek Nayar, Yusuf Pathan, Naman Ojha, Harbhajan Singh, S.K. Trivedi, S. Sreesanth, Ashok Dinda and A.S. Goswami.
India Red: Yuvraj Singh (capt.), M. Vijay, Sunny Sohail, Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Jaggi, Ravindra Jedeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddiman Saha, R. Ashwin, Sudeep Tyagi, Munaf Patel, S.S. Tiwary, Ishant Sharma and H. Khadiwale.
India Green: Suresh Raina (capt.), A. Rahane, Tanmay Srivatsava, Ravi Inder Singh, Manoj Tiwary, S. Badrinath, Chetanya Nanda, Irfan Pathan, Parthiv Patel, S.K. Jakati, L. Balaji, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pankaj Singh and Uday Kaul.