Kris Srikkanth’s committee yesterday announced the 3 teams that will play in this years’ installment of the Challenger Series. Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif and S. Badrinath captain India Blue, India Green and India Red (very imaginative names, of course!) in the tournament that will be played between October 23-26 in Cuttack.
Considering that Test matches between India and Australia will be played between Oct 17 and Oct 21 (2nd Test) and Oct 29 and Nov 2 (3rd Test), the Challengers slot in quite nicely in the gap between the two Test matches.
It would have to, for Badrinath, R. P. Singh and Amit Mishra have been named in the Red, Green and Blue teams respectively. Having said that, the current India team has been chosen only for the first 2 Tests against Australia.
It is quite interesting to note that Swapnil Asnodkar, the IPL sensation for Jaipur under Shane Warne’s leadership, has been dropped! This will be a blow for the youngster.
India Blue and India Red include two wicket-keepers. Blue has Dinesh Karthik and Yogesh Takawale! I’d imagine that the Mumbai ‘keeper is going to press Karthik for a place. The TN ‘keeper appears to be in free-fall at the moment! India Red has Wriddhiman Saha and Parthiv Patel. Meanwhile, the Green team only has the somewhat unheralded MP player, Naman Ojha in the mix! I find this a bit strange in terms of selection. While it is ok, in my view to have Takawale snapping at the heels of Dinesh Karthik, it seems strange to give Naman Ojha free reign. An option may have been to include Srivats Goswami in the Green team or maybe even move Wriddhiman Saha, a very promising young cricketer, into the Green team.
The teams appear to be reasonably well balanced in other departments.
Yuvraj Singh (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravinder Singh, Irfan Pathan, Yogesh Takawale (wk), Ashok Dinda, Pradeep Sangwan, Amit Mishra, Arjun Yadav, Siddarth Trivedi, R Ashwin.
S Badrinath (capt), M Vijay, F Fazal, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma, Jaydev Shah, Abhishek Nayar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Praveen Kumar, L Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Monish Parmar, Parthiv Patel (wk)
Mohammad Kaif (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Naman Ojha (wk), Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, Saurabh Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Manpreet Gony, RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Rajat Bhatia, Abhinav Kumar, Pankaj Singh