IN A baffling move, Delhi's Mithun Manhas has been left out of the North Zone team for the Deodhar Trophy squad. Manhas, who led North Zone to the Duleep Trophy title last month, failed to find a place in a team bolstered by the returning Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
According to sources in the selection committee, Manhas was 'unlucky' not to make it. Manhas, who has a career average of 52.16 in List A, said he was 'surprised at the decision'.
While Manhas has failed to make it to the team, his Delhi teammate Rajat Bhatia, who had a torrid outing in last season's Deodhar, has managed to retain his place. Bhatia averaged a paltry 11.75 in the six matches he played. "It was a tough call, but in the end, he was edged out," said the source.
Apart from Sehwag and Gambhir, the two India u-19 stars, Virat Kohli and Pradeep Sangwan, will also return to action in the tournament. Delhi has as many as seven players in the 15-member squad, and one in the four stand-byes.
Manhas's exclusion is however not the only surprise in the squad. Punjab pacer Manpreet Ghony, who did not do anything of note in his five one-dayers (six wickets at 32.00), has also made it to the squad.
Virender Sehwag (Captain), Gautam Gambhir, Aakash Chopra, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rajat Bhatia, Pradeep Sangwan (all Delhi), Yashpal Singh (Services), Paras Dogra, Vikramjeet Malik, Vishal Bhatia (all HP), Uday Kaul, VRV Singh, Manpreet Ghony (all Punjab), Amit Mishra (Haryana)
STAND BYES: Karan Goel (Punjab), Sunny Singh & Sanjay Bhudwar (Haryana), Puneet Bisht (Delhi)