November 29, 2000

Ganguly wanted Robin Singh in the team

There is every possibility that the young talented opener from Orissa, Shiv Sundar Das will play his first one day international at Cuttack against Zimbabwe on December 2. The Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly wants to include Das in the side to strengthen the batting. However, the number at which he will bat is yet to be decided. According to information available from sources close to the team, Das may bat at either number three or five.

The source also disclosed that even though Ganguly wanted to retain the Tamil Nadu all-rounder Robin Singh in the side, he could not do so because three of the selectors were against his inclusion. The three felt that age has finally caught up with Robin Singh and that Reetinder Singh Sodhi, the young cricketer from Punjab would be a better investment. Ganguly had stated during the meeting of the selection committee that Robin Singh had performed well above expectations in the limited opportunities that he had. However, the selectors informed him that they wanted to include fresh blood and that Sodhi would be a better choice than Robin. However, this does not mean that Singh's one day career is as good as over. Simply because, if Sodhi fails to perform, there is a possibility of Singh getting a recall. It was Robin's bowling that went against his ouster from the side. The selectors felt that at his pace Robin Singh would not be able to trouble the Zimbabwe cricketers on the home made batting wickets.

Even though the selectors did not agree with Ganguly on the Robin Singh issue, they did so as far as Nikhil Chopra was concerned. Ganguly told the selectors that since Chopra had been proved innocent in the match-fixing scandal, he should be included in the side, especially as Chopra had always bowled well in one-dayers. The selectors readily agreed. Other than that most of team more or less selected themselves.