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UP Ranji squad unlikely to see many new faces

The five-member selection committee led by former Test offie Gopal Sharma won't have much of a problem in selecting the batsmen, says Sharad Deep.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2008 22:38 IST
Sharad Deep

NOT MANY faces are likely to be drafted into the Uttar Pradesh Ranji Trophy team when the three-day selection trials begin at Kamla Club Ground in Kanpur on Tuesday.

Going by the team's track record in the last three years, the selectors will look for potent seam bowlers as the new-ball pair of Rudra Pratap Singh and Praveen Kumar will be doing national duty during the season, which kicks off on November 3.

Uttar Pradesh, who won their maiden Ranji Trophy in 2005-06, managed to avoid relegation from the Elite Group to the Plate Group the following year. But, they staged a superb comeback last year when they finished runners-up, losing to Delhi in the final.

"Others may not get much of a chance this time as our stress is on seam bowlers. Sudeep Tyagi will need good support with the new ball," said a selector who refused to be named.

"Both our batsmen and slow bowlers did a wonderful job last season.

So, I don't have to worry much about them this season. But we need energetic seam bowlers like Tyagi who we discovered last season," he added.

Muzzafarnagar's Tyagi, who was brought into the team at the insistence of skipper Mohd Kaif and coach Gyanendra Pandey last season, turned out to be the country's highest wicket-taker with 41 wickets in eight matches.

The five-member selection committee led by former Test offie Gopal Sharma won't have much of a problem in selecting the batsmen. "Even if Kaif, Suresh Raina and Piyush Chawla remain busy with the national side this season, we have the bench strength to plug those vacancies," said another selector.

If the selectors go solely by form, left-handed opening batsman Shivakant Shukla, who scored just 115 runs in five innings last time, doesn't stand a chance of getting a look-in. But his experience and past record may see him make it to the list of 30 probables this time.

Going solely by statistics, batsmen Rahat Elahi, Tahir Abbas and seamers Ratnesh Mishra, Mohd Abid and Bhuvanesh Kumar weren't impressive last season. But, it was Abid who had actually put pressure on rival batsmen in the beginning, which proved vital for Tyagi later.

Keeper-batsman Mohd Aamir will face stiff competition for his place from Eklavya Dwivedi of Allahabad. Though both are on a par when it comes to their skills, age and fitness will favour Dwivedi.

PROBABLES (HT's PICK)

Mohd Kaif (captain), Suresh Raina (vice-captain), Tanmay Srivastava,Ravikant Shukla, Shivakant Shukla, Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Rudra Pratap Singh, Eklavya Dwivedi, Mohd Aamir Khan, Praveen Gupta, Sudeep Tyagi, Anshul Kapoor, Bhuvanesh Kumar, Mohd Abid Khan, Shailendra Singh Senger, Rohit Chaudhury, Akash Verma, Deependra Pandey, Bharat Awasthi, Ankit Tewari, Prashant Gupta, Sunil Tripathi, KK Upadhaya, Parwinder Singh, Tahir Abbas, Ashish Yadav, Sunil Tripathi, Mohd Imtiyaz and Rohit Prakash.