Offspinner Harbhajan Singh, who has been dropped from the India team for the first two ODIs of the five-match home series against England, has been named the captain of the India Green squad for the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy. Gautam Gambhir, who is back in action following the concussion he suffered in England, will lead India Red while Tamil Nadu batsman S Badrinath will captain India Blue.
The tournament will comprise three round-robin games and a final, and will be played from October 10 to 13 in Nagpur. The first ODI against England is on the next day in Hyderabad, a game which Gambhir is slated to play in.
The three squads feature a number of fringe players who have played for India recently, or have shown flashes of promise in the IPL. TN opener M Vijay, who has lost favour with the national selectors following an indifferent tour of West Indies will play for India Blue, alongside IPL performers Paul Valthaty and Saurabh Tiwary, and spinners Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra. The side also includes Irfan Pathan and Dinesh Karthik, both of whom have been out of national reckoning in recent years.
Harbhajan's team includes Robin Uthappa, who has been a strong IPL performer, but average in other domestic tournaments. Tamil Nadu's S Anirudha and Hyderabad's T Suman also find a spot in the India Green line-up, as do Mohammad Kaif, Iqbal Abdulla and Ahimanyu Mithun.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund, who have played for India in ODIs and Tests recently, figure in the India Red squad. Ambati Rayudu has forced his way back into the selectors' focus with his IPL heroics, and finds a place in the side. Yusuf Pathan, who has lost the allrounder spot in the senior team to Ravindra Jadeja, and RP Singh, who made a comeback from the wilderness during the England tour, are the other notable inclusions in Gambhir's team.
India Blue: S Badrinath (capt), M Vijay, Paul Valthaty, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Mandeep Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, YV Krishanatry, Prashant Parameshwaran, Pradeep Sangwan, Tanmay Srivastava
India Green: Harbhajan Singh (capt), Robin Uthappa, S Anirudha, T Suman, Mohnish Mishra, Ishank Jaggi, Mohammad Kaif, CM Gautham (wk), Sarabjit Ladda, Iqbal Abdulla, Abhimanyu Mithun, Samad Fallah, Ishwar Choudhary, Sumit Narwal
India Red: Gautam Gambhir (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Abhinav Mukund, Ambati Rayudu, Ashok Menaria, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Jalaj Saxena, Piyush Chawla, Bhargav Bhatt, Pankaj Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, TP Sudhindra, Yusuf Pathan, RP Singh