Anjum Chopra, the Indian batsman, hopes for a new beginning with the national side now that the women's selection committee has changed just before the tour of Australia starting October 28. She said "personal grudges" had derailed her international career in the last year and a half and she was optimistic that a strong performance in the Challenger Series, starting Thursday, would earn her a recall to the Indian team.
"I was kept out due to non-cricketing reasons," Chopra, who last played for India in an ODI against England in Chennai in the Quadrangular Series in February 2007, told Cricinfo. "To go through that experience was really sad because I was never told why I was dropped. Somebody needs to come and tell me what I am doing wrong.
"I have played alongside the members of the former selection committee for years but they couldn't tell me why I was dropped. I have complete faith in the new committee and really hope I am given a fair trial because I know I deserve to be in the Indian team."
The BCCI appointed a new selection committee, headed by the former Indian batsman Sandhya Agarwal, in the annual general body meeting three days ago.
Anju Jain, the former chairman of selectors, justified Chopra's absence from the squad for the ODIs in England in August and September due to her poor form. Jain told Cricinfo the selectors wanted to pick a squad which had a balance of experienced and young players.
Chopra rejected the reasons for being dropped and said her form could not be judged since she hadn't played since last February. "Youth can give you energy not experience," Chopra said. "The reason why Mithali [Raj] was the only batsman who succeeded in England was because she has the experience and knowledge of the conditions. It was heartening to see her bat and she said herself that all she needed was support at the other end." India lost 4-0 to England in the five-match series.
"Taunton is my favourite hunting ground and it was really sad to see India lose there." Chopra achieved her highest Test score of 98 at the venue and she averages over 50 in the longer version there.
Chopra said she had been practising hard for the Challenger Series, playing in Delhi and Mumbai, and was determined to give the tournament her best shot. She was also looking ahead to the Australia tour and said the bounce and humidity would be the factors that India will have to counter there.
The Challenger Series includes three teams - India Senior, India A and India B - and will be played over four days in Ahmedabad. Chopra is part of the India B squad led by the medium-pacer Amita Sharma.