Jaffer leads strong West Zone batting line-up
Wasim Jaffer has been named the captain of the West Zone squad for the Duleep Trophy. Jaffer, who led Mumbai to their 38th Ranji Trophy title, heads a formidable line-up, consisting of some of the leading performers this season.
Gujarat offspinner Mohnish Parmar has been not considered for selection after recent tests on his bowling action, conducted at the Australian Institute of Sports in Canberra, turned out unfavourable. Parmar told the Mumbai Mirror he had not been informed about the verdict of the tests in Australia, with officials telling him all was fine. "My life and my livelihood depend on cricket and one report can destroy all that," he said. "I really thought I had a chance of making it to the Indian team especially when Harbhajan got injured. There is no other off-spinner in the country who has taken as many wickets in the domestic season as I have. I guess that AIS report has done me in."
Parmar is the leading wicket-taker in first-class games in the country this season, with 52 wickets in 11 games at 19.42, including 41 at 19.53 apiece in the Ranji Trophy - one less the best of 42 taken by Dhawal Kulkarni and Ravindra Jadeja. He had been picked for the India A team and the Challenger Trophy earlier in the season. Parmar has corrected his action in the past, after the ICC asked the BCCI to conduct a review following the Under-19 World Cup in 2006.
Mumbai's Ramesh Powar and Baroda's Rajesh Pawar are the spinners in the 15-man squad. Powar, an offspinner, took 34 wickets in nine games at 26.14, and played a key role in Mumbai's success, and the left-arm spinner Pawar had 20 wickets from his six games at 28.80.
Kulkarni, Sidharth Trivedi, Samad Fallah and Ajitesh Argal are the other specialist bowlers in the squad. The side's strongest suit though is its batting, with Jaffer, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara - the top three run-getters in the Ranji Trophy this season - in its ranks. They will be joined by two other strong performers in Kedar Jadhav and Bhavik Thakkar - both scored over 600 and averaged over 70 in the Ranji Trophy. Parthiv Patel, the team's vice-captain, will keep wicket.
West Zone's first match is the semi-final against East Zone at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, which starts on January 29.
West Zone squad: Wasim Jaffer (capt), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Kedar Jadhav, Ajay Shrikhande, Bhavik Thakkar, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sidharth Trivedi, Samad Fallah, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Azharuddin Bilakhia and Ajitesh Argal.