Anil Kumble and S Sreesanth do not figure in the 14-member Indian team for the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in India from October 7 to November 5. Also absent from the squad are Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan, who were named in the list of 30 probables for the quadrennial event.
The national selection committee met here for the penultimate time (they'll meet again at the end of the month to pick the team for the Challenger Series) to name the teams for the September 12-24 DLF Cup tri-series in Malaysia and for the ICC Champions Trophy, for which 14 names had to be released before September 6th. The 15-member squad that went to Colombo last month has been retained for the KL tournament.
The 35-year-old Kumble was slated to return to the ODI squad for the Champions Trophy ahead of spearheading the Indian bowling attack in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. But the selectors, in consultation with Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell, decided not to rush his comeback following tendonitis in his right shoulder that brought a premature end to his English county stint with Surrey.
"According to physio John Gloster's report, Kumble should be fit for the Champions Trophy," said chairman of selectors Kiran More here on Sunday. "But we are not sure whether he would break down. We also looked at the long term, with the tour of South Africa coming up this year-end and a couple of ODI series before the World Cup. Anil is such an experienced player that he can always come back," More added.
More said that Kumble would play a couple of domestic matches to prove his fitness.
RP Singh, picked ahead of Sreesanth, seemed to be the right choice if looked in detail at their economy rates, particularly in Indian conditions, where the mini World Cup is to be played. Singh, in his 15 ODIs since his debut in Zimbabwe last year, has an economy rate of 4.93 as against Sreesanth's 5.72 in 18 games. The Kerala right-arm medium-pacer who made his ODI debut a month later than Singh at home, has a high economy rate in India, 6.12 from eight outings, which is 1.31 runs an over more than the left-arm speedster Singh's 4.81 in 10 matches.
However, Sreesanth need not be completely shattered. "Sreesanth is in our plans. We also need to give RP more chance as he has bowled well in the recent tour of Australia for India 'A'. Sreesanth, who will be going to Malaysia, will miss only four-five matches in the Champions Trophy. RP is also looking good," was More's stance.
Meanwhile, the selectors also named six fringe players for the two warm-up matches in Chennai before the Indian team departs for Kuala Lumpur next week. Robin Uthappa, S Badrinath, Tejinder Pal Singh, Vikram Rajvir Singh, Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Kaarthick will feature in the warm-up games against strong Chennai outfits.
For Malaysia: Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Mongia, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Munaf Patel, S Sreesanth, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ramesh Powar, Harbhajan Singh.
For Champions Trophy: Dravid (captain), Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Kaif, Sehwag, Raina, Mongia, Dhoni, Pathan, Agarkar, Munaf, RP Singh, Powar, Harbhajan.