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Ganguly sacrificed for fifth bowler

The decision to dump Sourav Ganguly was taken in consultation with Test captain Anil Kumble, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Sep 08, 2008 23:28 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

The decision to dump Sourav Ganguly was taken in consultation with Test captain Anil Kumble. The selectors want to try out five bowlers in the Irani Cup match ahead of the Test series against Australia and there is no room for India’s most successful left-handed batsman in that combination.

“It was difficult to find a place for him in the XI and what’s the point in keeping him in the squad if he can’t be played?” a source close to the selection committee told HT. “Then, they want (VVS) Laxman to bat at No. 6, which becomes the case if Ganguly is in the XI. Under the circumstances, he was the only one who could be dropped.” He confirmed that selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar spoke to Kumble during the meeting in Mumbai. “Both agreed that this was the best way ahead. Plus, there are a number of youngsters like S. Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma waiting for their turn.”

So why was Badrinath kept out of the Rest of India squad where Mohammad Kaif found a place? “Badri wouldn’t have got a place in the XI. So the selectors decided to keep him in the India A side (which is playing a series against Australia A and another with New Zealand) so that he stays match-fit,” explained the insider.

Elaborating on Ganguly’s omission, he said that talks had started even before the Test series in Sri Lanka was over. “The selectors and Kumble had discussed who to leave out if Laxman was to be promoted or if the team wanted a fifth bowler. Dropping Ganguly must have been the best option.”

According to this source, the Rest of India side will field three medium-pacers alongside Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. That means someone from the middle-order will have to accompany Wasim Jaffer as opener. This responsibility may go to Rahul Dravid irrespective of his reluctance to bat in that position.