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Delhi begin probability test

One can only hope that Delhi's selectors, for once, abandon politicking and pick the right side, writes Varun Gupta.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 11:56 IST

Let's just start afresh, shall we? Not because there is no other option — believe me, we can make another foray into Delhi's recent past, where mismanagement, underperformances and sordid politics have become so intertwined that extracting the smallest of positives seems impossible, but that would serve little purpose than cause further heartache.

Rather, as it's a new season — well, sort of — a new tournament and a totally different brand of cricket — ODIs — let's, for once, be optimistic.

But then again, we come back to that one word: hope. Such a simple word, what a terrible demand, more so when you associate Delhi cricket with it. But let's hope nonetheless; that Delhi's cricketers, who barely avoided relegation in the four-day format, regain some pride when the ODI season begins — on February 10 in Chandigarh.

But to do that, Delhi need a twofold approach. One, hope that the players are sharp, focussed and on the edge. And two, hope that Delhi's selectors, for once abandon politicking and pick the right side.

At least they're trying something different this time, announcing a group of "probables" who will play three practice games among themselves on January 29, 30 and February 1, aka the Challenger Trophy, before finalising a squad.

However, in those two teams (made up of regulars and some promising youngsters) are a couple that stand out for the wrong reasons. Pankaj Joshi is one such. Astonishingly, Joshi last played for Delhi five seasons ago and since then, has done little of note to merit a place in the list of probables.

But this being the DDCA, where anything can happen, he has been resurrected. Interestingly, sources say that he was selected not because of any official interference but at the insistence of Delhi skipper Virender Sehwag. Sehwag is apparently convinced that Joshi is special and these three practice matches (if played seriously) will give others a chance to gauge Joshi's speciality.

Incidentally, and again in typical DDCA fashion, the players have still not been officially intimated about these practice games. Some have learned of the matches through the newspapers and passed on the message to their colleagues!

Teams

Team A: Virender Sehwag (captain), Aakash Chopra, Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Tehlan, Rajat Bhatia, Puneet Bisht, Ashish Nehra, Amit Bhandari, Chetanya Nanda, Kuunal Lall, Suhail Sharma, Pankaj Joshi.

Team B: Mithun Manhas (captain), Varun Sood, Abhinav Bali, Kuldeep Rawat, Rahul Yadav, Parvesh Chikara, Yogesh Sachdeva, Ashish Malhotra, Pradeep Sangwan, Yogesh Nagar, Abhishek Sharma.