Viru, Bhajji set to play Twenty20 Cup
Out-of-favour batsman Virender Sehwag and spin bowler Harbhajan Singh are expected to be included in the list of 30 Indian probables for the inaugural World Twenty20 championship when the national selectors meet in Mumbai on Saturday.
Sehwag lost his spot in the one-day team after the Bangladesh tour while Harbhajan is out of the side in both forms of the game and has been replaced by Ramesh Powar after the World Cup.
Sehwag has tried to regain his touch in a local tournament in Delhi while Harbhajan has preferred the English country cricket route to parade his wares and reclaim his wicket-taking abilities.
Both these players have not found a berth in the Test squad for England as well as the preceding one-day offshore ties in Ireland and Scotland.
Among others likely to get the nod, subject to fitness, is young Uttar Pradesh batsman Suresh Raina, who has not played for more than four months because of a knee injury and has started physical training under the supervision of Cricket Board-appointed doctor's physiotherapist son.
Selection panel chief Dilip Vengsarkar indicated that players coming back from injuries, such as Raina, needed to "prove their fitness" and cited competitions like the Buchi Babu tournament in Chennai as vehicles to do so.
Also in the running are left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan and the injury-prone Munaf Patel.
Both these Baroda players were in the bowlers' and batsmen's fitness-oriented camps in Mysore and Bangalore respectively last month.
A majority of campers, barring some like Anil Kumble who has retired from ODIs and Test specialist VVS Laxman, are expected to find favour with the selectors who could be looking at the utility value of various players in the shortest form of the game.
The BCCI conducted the inaugural Twenty20 national tournament for the Mushtaq Ali Trophy which was won by Tamil Nadu who beat Punjab in the final in April, and some of the notable performers in the event could get a look-in.
Power-hitters like Baroda's Yousuf Pathan, who can also bowl off-spin, and Karnataka's B Akhil - a handy lower order bat who bowls medium pace - are some of those who caught the eye in the tournament and may be picked in the preliminary list.
The list has to be pruned to 15 on or before August 11, a month before the Twenty20 World Championship commences in South Africa.
The selectors will also pick the India 'A' squad for its twin tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya starting later this month.