England in India, 2005-06 February 19, 2006

More non-committal on Ganguly's selection

Kiran More: 'In one-day cricket, even VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble remain in contention' © Getty Images

Kiran More, the selection committee chairman, today refused to confirm whether Sourav Ganguly would be considered for the first Test against England starting in Nagpur on March 1. The squad for that match will be announced in Baroda on February 23.

More, however, denied that Ganguly's career was over saying "if Sourav continues to perform, no one can stop him from playing for India. But it is still early to comment on the team for the first Test and we will see how things go," More told PTI. "It would be unjustified to say that only Sourav has a challenge on his hands in the presence of the youngsters who have excelled on this tour. I think it is a challenge for everyone. The best thing about this team is that there is a lot of competition which is a healthy sign."

More said that the door had not been shut on any player. "In one-day cricket, even VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble, besides Sourav, remain in contention. The important thing is that they are playing cricket and can be called if and when required."

The three players were excluded for the one-day series against Pakistan. More took a swipe at some former cricketers who have accused him of being a "rubber stamp" and a "toothless" chief selector. "They are sitting on various television channels and need to speak something different. They have no clue what they are talking and what damage they are causing to the team," fumed More. "Besides, they are highly paid and need to speak things that are controversial, have spice and can glue the viewers on the television screens.

"Prior to the start of the series, they were questioning the credentials of Rahul Dravid as captain, the form of Sachin Tendulkar and emphasising on the negative effects Ganguly's presence would have on the team," More continued. "These proved to be nothing but rubbish. I agree that when the team is winning, the job of the selectors becomes easy. But we take decisions which we think are in the best interests of the country and the team."

Turning to the performance of the team on the Pakistan tour, More expressed satisfaction but added that India needed more quality fast bowlers and safer fielders. "Generally, fielding has been good and there has been a marked improvement. But still, we did not field well in the Tests and need to certainly improve in that area. We have a few good fast bowlers but we need more as today teams require quality fast bowlers to pressurise the opponents. Of course, when we talk of quality, there are several things included and pace is certainly very high on that list."