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'Wicketkeepers' slot open for ODIs'

The position of wicketkeeper in India's one-day cricket squad is still up for grabs, says selection panel chief Syed Kirmani.
By IANS | PTI, Ahmedabad
UPDATED ON OCT 09, 2003 12:20 AM IST

The position of wicketkeeper in India's one-day cricket squad is still up for grabs, says selection panel chief Syed Kirmani.

"Parthiv (Patel) is doing a good job and we don't want to disturb the balance of the one-day team. But it is my responsibility to find a specialist wicketkeeper for the one-day squad, too," Kirmani told IANS Wednesday.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the first cricket Test match between India and New Zealand, which began Wednesday at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Patel keeps wickets for India in the longer version of the game. However, India makes its batting mainstay Rahul Dravid do the job in one-day matches, leading several cricket watchers to say that Dravid is being overstretched.

"I am not happy with Dravid being asked to keep wickets. We have some good wicketkeepers. Ajay Ratra and Deep Das Gupta are doing well. But we are also observing others in regional cricket academies," said Kirmani, an ace stumper of yesteryears.


"I have told fellow selectors about my desire to get a specialist wicketkeeper who can also bat in the squad. They seem to agree with me," he
said.

All five selectors -- Kirmani, Sanjay Jagdale, Kiran More, Kirti Azad and Pranab Roy -- have descended on Motera to watch the players.

The Indian team is due to tour Australia later this year and they are keen to find a settled opening batting pair.

India has given Delhi's Akash Chopra his Test cap. He opened the innings with Virendra Sehwag in the morning. Chopra saw the new ball through in the morning session but tamely gave away his wicket soon after lunch. Another player to win his Test cap was new ball bowler L. Balaji.

Motera is where Navjot Sidhu had made his debut and went on to gain a fair amount of success as an opener.

Another player to begin his Test career at Motera is V.V.S. Laxman, who is batting in the middle order in this Test.

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