Ganguly named in probables list for Champions Trophy

BANGALORE, Aug 9: Sourav Ganguly's prolonged bid to make a comeback to the national squad received a boost on Wednesday with the former captain being named among 30 probables for the ICC Champions Trophy tournament to be held in India later this year. 

The Bengal left-hander, left in the wilderness since the Pakistan tour in January this year, found a place in the list after the national selectors decided to pick the maximum 30 players instead of the 22 or 25 as widely speculated. 

Veterans Anil Kumble and VVS Laxman also found themselves back into the one-day fold after being ignored from the shorter version of the game of late. 

Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan enhanced his prospects for a comeback with a berth in the preliminary short-list, announced by Cricket Board Seceretary Niranjan Shah after a meeting of the selection committee here. 

While all the members of the Sri Lanka bound team expectedly figured in the list, Tamil Nadu middle-order batsman S Badrinath and Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma were the two new faces. 

The final 14-member squad for the October-November tournament would be announced by September 7. 

Probables: Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Mohd Kaif, M S Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar, Anil Kumble, Dinesh Mongia, R P Singh, Suresh Raina, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Venugopal Rao, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, S Badrinath, S Sreesanth, Tejinder Pal Singh, VRV Singh, Dinesh Karthick, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, S S Paul and Piyush Chawla. 

'Chappell's remarks a national insult' 
Kolkata, March 2, 2006.
Taking strong exception to coach Greg Chappell's "insulting comments" on star cricketer Sourav Ganguly, a senior West Bengal minister on Thursday called on sports lovers to stage protests against the Australian. 
"What Chappell has said about Sourav is not merely insulting to the former Indian captain. It is an insult to the state and the nation," West Bengal Minister for Municipal Affairs and Urban Development Ashok Bhattacharya told newspersons in Kolkata.

Bhattacharya said those who loved sports and games, particularly cricket, should protest against the remarks made by the Aussie in an interview to British newspaper The Guardian.

"There should be protests everywhere. And BCCI president Sharad Pawar should intervene immediately," said the Minister, known for his proximity to Ganguly.

"Today, Sourav has been insulted. Tomorrow, some other player may be at the receiving end. This cannot continue," said an annoyed Bhattacharya.

Chappell had said in the interview that Ganguly had refused to give up captaincy of the Indian team because the job was "utterly important to his life and finances."

The Australian, widely believed to be the man behind the left-handed batsman's ouster from the national cricket team, bluntly stated that Ganguly thought he would be able "to run me as he did John (Wright) in the latter part of his time as coach. But we clashed because his needs as a struggling player and captain and those of the team were different."

Chappell may be issued a warning by BCCI: Shah 
 Nagpur, March 2, 2006 
Peeved over Team India cricket coach Greg Chappell's "unwarranted remarks" on former skipper Sourav Ganguly in an interview to a British paper, the Cricket Board may issue a warning to the Australian to desist from making such controversial comments.

BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah on Thursday said that he would take up the matter with the BCCI Chief Sharad Pawar after which Chappell could be issued a formal warning.

"I will talk to BCCI President Sharad Pawar on Thursday and apprise him of what has happened. I got a call from 
Ganguly on Wednesday who complained over some unwarranted remarks made by Chappell on him. Chappell may be issued a warning," Shah said.

The BCCI secretary said Ganguly was especially annoyed over Chappell's comments that the former Indian skipper wanted to cling on to captaincy because of financial reasons.

"What had upset Ganguly most was Chappell's comments in the interview given to The Guardian newspaper that the Kolkata stalwart wanted to cling on to the India captaincy for financial reasons," Shah said.

In the interview, Chappell said he had advised Ganguly to step down as captain in his own interest "to give himself mind space to work on his batting so that it could be resurrected but he was not prepared to do that."

The former Australian captain also said, "what I didn't realise at that stage was how utterly important to his life and finances being captain was."


It's all over now! Ganguly dumped for Nagpur Test 

Vadodara, February 23, 2006 
Sourav Ganguly was on Thursday dumped from the Indian team that will play England in the first Test at Nagpur for which the national selectors included 18-year-old leg spinner Piyush Chawla.

Indicating that the former Indian captain's international career is now in real jeopardy, Ganguly did not find a place in the 15-member squad despite the vacancy caused by the injury to fellow left-hander Yuvraj Singh. Ganguly was recently dropped from the one-day team in Pakistan after playing in two Tests there.

Pacemen Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar and opener Gautam Gambhir were also dropped from the squad announced by Chief Selector Kiran More. All-rounder Suresh Raina, who has done well in ODIs, S Sreesanth and Mohd Kaif figure in the team.

More said the team was picked keeping the future of Indian cricket in mind.

"I think we have done very well in one-dayers from which some new faces have emerged. The Board has decided to give these youngsters a chance, it is a very important move for us," More said after a marathon meeting of the National Selection Committee.

"It is not about just one Test, we are looking at the future. We also have the West Indies tour in mind."

Asked about Ganguly's exclusion, a slightly irritated More said, "we did not discuss only one individual. There are 15 players, why don't you ask about Dhoni who has performed very well."

The former wicketkeeper said the selectors had spoken to skipper Rahul Dravid who endorsed the selections.

"We spoke to Dravid. He had some ideas and he said he was happy about it (selection)," he said.

On why the meeting took so much time, the Chief Selector said, "we also discussed the Pakistan tour and all the departments of our game."

More justified Gambhir's exclusion by citing his recent performances which have not quite been up to the mark.

"He has not performed well recently so we decided to give Jaffer a chance. Sehwag and Jaffer will be the specialist openers, we will definitely give Jaffer a go (in the first Test)." 

Chawla, one of the four new faces, was obviously rewarded for his outstanding performance in the recent Under-19 World Cup in Colombo.

More said Chawla, who was picked ahead of the seasoned Murali Kartik as the third seamer, was a talent for the future.

"He is talented and has done outstandingly well in the domestic season. The way he bowled and batted in the final of the Under-19 World Cup, that too playing an international final for the first time, should say something about him," the former India stumper said.

More said the openers' slot was an area of concern for the team.

"We had given Gautam (Gambhir) a lot of opportunities. He is not in the best of confidence. That is why we have picked Wasim Jaffer who is a specialist opener," he said.

For the batting line up, the names of Venugopala Rao, Cheteshwar Pujara and Aakash Chopra were discussed, More said.

On including Sreesanth and VRV Singh in place of Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar, More said, "we are creating space for youngsters."

Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh, who were nursing innuries, made it to the squad for the first Test beginning on March one after having regained fitness.

Squad: Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, VVS Laxman, Mohd Kaif, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, Mahendra Singh Dhoni,Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh, VRV Singh, Piyush Chawla, S Sreesanth.


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