Dilip Vengsarkar has asked Irfan Pathan to prove his fitness in a Deodhar Trophy game ahead of the the Indian teams’ departure to the West Indies. The team departs for the World Cup on February 28th. Pathan has been asked to play a Deodhar Trohpy game for West Zone against Central Zone on Sunday 25th February.
Pathan played only one game of a possible max of five games against West Indies and Sri Lanka. Pathan made his comeback for game-3 against the Windies. After playing that one game, he was benched for the remaining games due to a stiff-shoulder that captain Rahul Dravid did not want to aggravate further. Pathan’s injury occurred on Jan 31st. Pathan himself tried to downplay the extent of the injury. However, the Board wasn’t happy with the explanation and wanted to match-test him prior to commiting his presence on the World Cup team.
Good thinking in my view — especially given the circumstances. Munaf Patel, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag — the other comeback-men in the team — have been played into some sort of form. Moreover, Munaf Patel and Yuvraj Singh — both making post-injury comebacks — have acquired sufficient match-time under their belts. Irfan Pathan seemed to have escaped the scanner. Until now that is…
Dilip Vengsarkar and the Board have insisted that Pathan plays the Deodhar trophy game. Vengsarkar has even suggested that the Board would be willing to drop Pathan in case he doesn’t pull up effectively in that game. Three of the selection committee members — Dilip Vengsarkar, Bhupinder Singh, Ranjib Biswal — are slated to be present at the game on Sunday!
In the game itself, Amol Mazumdar, the West Zone captain, may feel forced — by this intense scrutiny — to use and stress-test Pathan. However, if Mazumdar feels that there hands on the wheel of the bus other than his own, then, the selectors already have their solution! They’d then need to find an alternative! Clearly, if Pathan is not good enough for West Zone, he can’t be good enough for India!
While Dilip Vengsarkar maintains that the selection team do not have an alternative in mind, I’d be quite surprised if they did not have a few players to chose from.