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Kumble likely to be picked for ICC Trophy

Ganguly is unlikely to get a look-in for either Champions Trophy or Malaysia tri-series.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2006 16:11 IST

Anil Kumble is widely tipped to make it to the 14-member Indian squad for the ICC Champions Trophy but the selectors are unlikely to cast the net outside the 16 chosen for the ongoing rolling camp when picking the squad for the preceding tri-series in Malaysia.

The squads for both the September 12-24 tri-nation event in Kuala Lumpur and the October-November Champions Trophy in India are to be picked on Sunday.

Kumble, although out of selectors' favour for one-dayers for more than a year, is staking a strong claim for inclusion in the team for Champions Trophy due to his fine record on home soil.

The veteran leg spinner returned home before the end of the English county season where underwent a stint for Surrey before developing tendonitis in his bowling shoulder.

He is expected to recover fully by the time the Champions Trophy unwinds in four Indian centres, according to the assessment report given by team physio John Gloster.

Kumble, who has taken 329 wickets from 264 matches at close to 31 runs per wicket, has an impressive record at home - 123 wickets in 87 ties while conceding just over 28 per wicket.

The Bangalore stalwart, who would celebrate his 36th birthday during the course of the Champions Trophy, last played an ODI in South Africa in the Afro-Asian Cup last year while turning out for the Asian continent.

His last outing in an ODI for India was also in August, 2005 - against hosts Sri Lanka in the tri-nation final.

In case Kumble makes it to the Champions Trophy 14, it could be at the expense of a medium pacer.

The selectors are most likely to retain the same 15 who were picked for the tri-series in Sri Lanka when they choose the squad for the Malayisan tri-series featuring Australia and the West Indies.

Punjab paceman V R V Singh is the lone player from outside the 15 who toured Sri Lanka to have been called up for the rolling camp in progress at Bangalore.

But in the absence of any play, barring for a brief while, in Colombo, VRV Singh is unlikely to push out any other medium paced rival and gain a berth in the Kuala Lumpur-bound team.

Former captain Sourav Ganguly, who has vowed to score heavily in domestic cricket and make a comeback into the team before the 2007 World Cup, is unlikely to get a look-in for either of the two events.

Two other batsmen in the reckoning recently - Robin Uthappa and Venugopala Rao - also look certain to miss the bus.

The 15 who went to Sri Lanka were: Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Mohd Kaif, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Mongia, M S Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, S Sreesanth, Ajit Agarkar, R P Singh, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and Ramesh Powar