SOURAV GANGULY — the scorer of 10,000 one-day runs and the inspirational leader of Indian cricketers till some time ago — has not been totally forgotten.
On Wednesday, he was named among the 30 probables for the ICC Champions Trophy to be played at home in October-November. Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble and V.V.S. Laxman were also included.
Ganguly may consider himself lucky as he did little of note in his one-and-a-half month stint with Northamptonshire (a first-class average of 4.80 in six innings).
But then, his inclusion was only reasonable considering he is still a contracted player with the BCCI and that too in Grade A, the highest category. Doubts linger over the renewal (due next month) of the annual retainership as the 34-year-old has not been anywhere in the fray since the tour of Pakistan early this year when he played his last Test. The last ODI he played was in Zimbabwe in October.
Chairman of selectors Kiran More defended the recall. "Ganguly is still a contracted player and is good enough a player to be named in the probables," he said. "He definitely fits into the 30, there is no question about it. All the best to him."
Ganguly's place in the probables list does not, however, necessarily mean he will return to the team. As More himself said when asked if it meant the Kolkata left-hander would play for India again: "We've to name only 14 on September 7 for the Champions Trophy."
The list of 30 includes three uncapped players: 19-year-old Mumbai batsmen Rohit Sharma, Subramaniam Badrinath (Tamil Nadu) and Tejinderpal Singh (Railways).