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Jadeja, Joshi, Robin, Ankola return to the Indian side

13 January 1997

Ajay Jadeja, Sunil Joshi, Robin Singh and Salil Ankola have been recalled to the Indian cricket team for the triangular series in South Africa and the two one day international games in Zimbabwe.

Jagmohan Dalmiya, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said the selection committee -- chairman Ramakant Desai, Shivlal Yadav, Sambaran Bannerjee, Kishen Rungta and M Pandove -- who convened in Bombay on Tuesday had a teleconference with Indian skipper Sachin Tendulkar and manager Madan Lal before finalising the replacements.

The quartet will replace openers W V Raman and Pankaj Dharmani, left arm spinner Venkatpathy Raju and pace bowler David Johnson. Jadeja and Co will join the team in South Africa by the weekend.

Haryana allrounder and India A skipper Jadeja, who played stellar roles in India's ODI triumphs last year, was widely expected to return to the national side for the one day games. Most observers also expected the selectors to book a call to Tamil Nadu allrounder Robin Singh who made an impressive comeback in the Ti- tan Cup against Australia and South Africa last autumn.

Joshi, whose performance in the Tests against South Africa was poor, probably got a nod ahead of fellow southpaw Vinod Kambli, on his reputation as a utility player.

Kambli, who scored an unbeaten 87 against Lancashire in Calcutta on Friday, has still not won favour with the selectors who dropped him for 'disciplinary reasons' after the World Cup last March.

Ditto for Navjot Singh Sidhu who was suspended by the BCCI for 90 days in September for leaving last summer's English tour mid-way. The Indian openers have had a pathetic run these past six weeks, but the selectors were apparently determined not to reinstate the man many consider the best opener in the country.

The surprise selection was, of course, Salil Ankola, the Bombay medium pacer. With Karnataka fast bowler D Ganesh likely to play all the one day games, Ankola, whose performances in domestic cricket have been so-so at best, may well be a passenger for the series.

Raman's departure from the Indian side was expected -- the poor man has had a nightmare run on the pitch. Dharmani, who can keep wickets and open the batting, was unlucky to be ousted. While Jadeja has been saddled with the reputation of being a one day specialist, Johnson is considered good only for the five day version of the game. And Raju? The eternal fall guy did not play a single Test, but who would speak for him among the selectors?

Very lucky not to get the axe are opener Vikram Rathore -- whom Tendulkar has enormous faith in despite his poor Test average -and second wicketkeeper Saba Karim who may not get a look in for any of the ODIs, with Nayan Mongia such a durable member of the side.

This team will not be the one going to the Caribbean next month. That series -- five Tests and a one day tourney -- will require endurance and competitive skills of a higher order. Hence, the selectors will make a fresh assessment after the one day games against South Africa.

It is also likely the players will return for a short break after the two one day matches in Zimbabwe.

As it stands, the schedule has India playing one more Test -which begins on Thursday -- and a triangular series in South Africa, then flying to Zimbabwe for the two ODIs. Zimbabwe is one of the three nations that, with South Africa and India, will contest the triangular in South Africa. Then the team is off to Bermuda for some exhibition games, and from there on to a three day game and the first two Tests against the West Indies.

The scheduling has come in for criticism, on two grounds. One, it does not give the players any breathing space between two tough tours (South Africa and the West Indies) and two, it does not provide for enough practise games in the Caribbean to allow the Indian players to acclimatise before taking on the West Indies at home.

The BCCI is now likely, insiders indicate, to send an India A team to Bermuda while the senior team flies home for about 10 days after the Zimbabwe games, and before the Windies tour begins.

Besides providing some much-needed rest to the senior team, which has been in continuous action since the World Cup, this will allow the Indian hopefuls a chance to play on foreign soil, and get used to international match situations without the attendant pressures.

Source: Rediff On The NeT
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 15:21