Azharuddin, Jadeja and Chopra axed

CHENNAI, SEPT. 2. Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Nikhil Chopra, whose names have figured in the betting and match-fixing scandal, have been left out of the list of 23 probables announced for ICC Knock-out limited overs tournament, starting in Nairobi on October 3.

The National Selection Committee, which met here on Saturday, under the chairmanship of Mr. Chandu Borde, also made it clear that the emphasis was on youth with all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi, batsmen Mohammed Kaif and Yuvaraj Singh, and wicket-kepeer Ajay Ratra, all members of the squad that triumphed in the under- 19 World Cup, being included in the list.

Another fresh face is that of the Baroda left-arm paceman, Zaheer Khan. ``We have kept the future in the mind. We want to build a team for 2003 World Cup,'' declared Mr. Borde.

``Due to the present scenario we feel they will be under tremendous pressure. But they will be considered for the future,'' Mr. Borde observed, commenting on the exclusion of cricketers under scrutiny in the match-fixing scandal.

Regarding the appointment of a new coach, as widely rumoured, Mr. Jaywant Lele, Secretary, BCCI, disclosed that decision could only be taken by the Board, and added the BCCI President Mr. A.C. Muthiah was handling the issue.

Mr. Borde revealed premier fast bowler Javagal Srinath was not considered since he had expressed a desire to concentrate on Test cricket. ``He rang me up to inform this.''

About the selection of three wicket-keepers, Ratra, Reuben Paul and Vijay Dahiya, he noted a need was felt for the services of more glovemen during practice sessions in a camp. ``We also want to provide them a chance.'' Incidentally, the experienced stumper Nayan Mongia has been left out.

Talking about the talent in the country, Mr. Borde admitted that the search was on for quality off-spinners and all-rounders.

The camp is likely to start in Chennai from September 13. The final 14 is expected to be chosen on September 20.

The probables: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid (vice- captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Hemang Badani, Vinod Kambli, S. Sriram, Yuvaraj Singh, Ajay Ratra, Ajit Agarkar, Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan, Amit Bhandari, T. Kumaran, Debasis Mohanty, Anil Kumble, Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Robin Singh, Vijay Dahiya, Reuben Paul, Md. Kaif, Jacob Martin and Sadagopan Ramesh.

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