Dravid likely to be named skipper

With a question mark hanging over Sourav Ganguly's fitness and may be future, Rahul Dravid is likely to be named captain when the national selectors meet.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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With a question mark hanging over Sourav Ganguly's fitness and may be future, Rahul Dravid is likely to be named captain when the national selectors meet here tomorrow. In its meeting, the panel is expected to pick the skipper for the one-day cricket series at home against Sri Lanka starting on October 25. The selectors, headed by Kiran More, are not left with much of a choice after Ganguly pulled out on the eve of the Challenger Series with what was diagnosed as "mild tennis elbow symptom". BCCI medical expert Dr Anant Joshi has said Ganguly's injury would take at least 10 days to heal. Injury problems A good showing under Dravid and the possibility of Ganguly remaining outside the team for a longer period could put his career at stake, especially against the backdrop of his spat with coach Greg Chappell, analysts feel. Ganguly's injury would be reassessed after the 10-day period but even if the doctors give him the go-ahead, the Bengal left-hander would have to prove his fitness in a domestic game before playing in an international match. Although Ganguly can still play in the Duleep Trophy, starting on October 20, he will be missing out on the selectors' deadline of October 13 to players to prove their fitness. In such a scenario, the selectors would have to go for Dravid although they can include Ganguly provisionally in the squad subject to fitness. No midway changes However, the selectors this time are not too keen on making captaincy changes midway through a tournament, sources said. The injury to Ganguly, India's most successful skipper ever, is certainly not helping his cause in the wake of the series of controversies in which he has been involved recently. After a run-in with the game's authorities, which saw him miss part of the tri-series in Sri Lanka, Ganguly was embroiled in a bitter spat with coach Greg Chappell. Chappell's report on the Indian captain contained damaging references to his form, temperament and fitness. Ganguly, nevertheless managed to hit a face-saving hundred in the Zimbabwe series, to suppress somewhat the growing criticism about his prolonged poor form with the bat. Gearing up for World Cup Another factor that is working against the 33-year-old Kolkatan is that both Chappell and the Cricket Board are keen to form a nucleus, which would form the team for the 2007 World Cup. They are looking at fit, young and consistent performers who can fetch India World Cup glory. Although none of the selectors were willing to say what they had on mind, they have made it clear that form and fitness would be the topmost criteria for selection, according to sources. The Board, on its part, has denied that it has already given an instruction to the selection committee to pick Dravid ahead of Ganguly. "There has been no such directive, selecting the captain and the team is clearly the prerogative of the selectors," BCCI Secretary S K Nair said. (PTI)