Sourav Ganguly's chances of returning to the national team took a knock on Wednesday after he was left out of the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup tie.
Baroda pacer Zaheer Khan got the nod ahead of Tamil Nadu's Laxmipathy Balaji in the 14-member Rest side that will be led by Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer against Ranji Trophy champions Uttar Pradesh at Nagpur from October 9 to 13.
VVS Laxman was another big name that was missing from the list, but the Hyderabadi batsman suffered a hamstring injury a few days ago and did not play in the Challenger Series.
Ganguly had scores of 23 and three in the two matches he played for India Green in the Challenger Series, but chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar said the former Test captain still had a chance to make a comeback.
"Everybody, including Ganguly, who played in Challenger was discussed. Players like Ganguly, Balaji and a few others will be playing in zonal tournament and depending on their performances they will come in for contention," Vengsarkar told reporters after the first meeting of the new selection committee here.
Vengsarkar, who replaced Kiran More in the committee, said the left-arm seamer's impressive showing in the English county season was the reason behind picking him ahead of Balaji.
"Both bowled extremely well at the Challenger Trophy. The committee gave recognition to Zaheer's performance in county cricket as Balaji came to this tournament after recovering from an injury," he said.
Vengsarkar said Laxman would be in contention once he recovered from injury and started playing competitive cricket.
"Laxman was not discussed. But once he recovered (from injury) and played in zonal tournament, he will also be considered for selection," he said.
Meanwhile, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said that Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina and Rudra Pratap Singh, who featured in the Champions Trophy squad, would not be available for the UP team.
Rest of India squad: Wasim Jaffe
r (capt), Venugopal Rao (vice-capt), Robin Uthapa, Gautam Gambhir, S Badrinath, Dinesh Kaarthick, VRV Singh, S Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Murali Kartik, P Ojha, Rohit Sharma, Sourashish Lahiri, Yo Mahesh.