Big three opt out of Twenty20 World Cup

Special Correspondent

Anirudha Srikkanth, Karan Goel in probables list

Mohammad Kaif to captain India ‘A’ tour of Zimbabwe, Kenya

Mumbai: Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have opted out of the inaugural ICC Twenty20 in South Africa.

The India captain Dravid telephoned Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), BCCI on Friday night and Dilip Vengsarkar, Chairman of the senior national selection committee on Saturday morning and conveyed to them that they need not be selected for the event to be held from September 11 to 24.

No particular reason

“Rahul did not give any particular reason, but I presume they want a break and be fresh for the home international season and also for the tour of Australia,” Vengsarkar told The Hindu.

Elevated as vice-captain for one-day internationals, it’s almost certain that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be in-charge of the campaign in South Africa. As per ICC regulations the Indian team will be announced in the first week of August after Vengsarkar’s return from England.

On Saturday the selectors deliberated for a little under two hours before selecting the 30 probables.

Aggressive approach

Anirudha Srikkanth and Karan Goel’s aggressive approach to batting in all forms won them a place in the list of probables.

Tamil Nadu’s V. Devendran — 285 runs in 10 matches in the BCCI Twenty20 championship — did evoke a discussion, but clearly the selectors did not want to take a chance picking someone who has not played first class or limited overs cricket and expose him to top quality fast bowling in South Africa.

“It will be somewhat easy to pick the 15 now. It’s mandatory to pick 30 probables and we have done that,” said a selector.

The selectors have also brought Mohammad Kaif back into the frame by naming him captain for the India ‘A’ tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya to start on July 21.

Haryana’s 21-year-old wicket-keeper batsman Mahesh Rawat won a place in the 16-member team on the basis of his 115 against Central Zone and 104 against Sri Lanka ‘A’ in the Duleep Trophy and his capacity to hit big shots.

Rajasthan seamer Pankaj Singh has also been chosen because the selectors feel he has the potential to develop into an all-rounder.

Baffling selection

But Arjun Yadav’s selection is baffling.

A regular for Hyderabad in the domestic competition for seven years, Yadav has scored 2278 runs (28.12) in 50 first class matches with two centuries in a gap of six years — 155 against Goa in 2001-02 and 133 for South Zone against Sri Lanka ‘A’ in the 2006-07 Duleep Trophy. He’s played 47 one-day matches, scored 829 runs (19.27). He’s taken just 12 wickets in first class matches and six in one-day matches.

Probables for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup: Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mohammad Kaif, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwari, Niraj Patel, Karan Goel, Cheteshwar Pujara, Abishek Jhunjhunwala, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, S. Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Joginder Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Niranjan Behara, Anirudh Srikant and Praveen Kumar.

India ‘A’ team for Zimbabwe and Kenya: Mohammad Kaif (captain), Parthiv Patel (vice-captain), Robin Uthappa, Cheteshwar Pujara, S. Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Rajesh Pawar, Mahesh Rawat (wk), Piyush Chawla, Arjun Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Vikram Raj Vir Singh, Yomahesh, Pankaj Singh and Niraj Patel. Officials: T.C. Mathew (manager), Chandrakant Pandit (coach) and Vaibhav Daga (physiotherapist).

Indian ‘A’ in Zimbabwe: July 24-27: 4-day game at Harare, July 30 to August 2: 4-day game at Bulawayo; India in Kenya (Tri-series): Aug. 5: vs Zimbabwe, Aug. 6: vs Kenya, Aug. 8: v Zimbabwe, Aug. 10: v Kenya, Aug. 12: Final. Aug. 14-16: 3-day game v Kenya (Nairobi) and Aug. 18-20: 3-day game v Kenya (Nairobi).

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