<
>

Indian captain to be chosen tomorrow

The tumultuous events at the power-centres of Indian cricket may take another twist on October 13, when the national selectors meet to choose the captain for the forthcoming one-day series against Sri Lanka, beginning on October 25. With Sourav Ganguly missing the Challenger Trophy with an injury, it remains to be seen if the selectors stick with him as captain, assuming he will be fit enough, or decide to choose Rahul Dravid instead.

The timing of Ganguly's return to competitive cricket leaves him very little time before the series against a strong Sri Lankan side, currently ranked No.2 in the ICC one-day table. Advised to rest his elbow till October 17, Ganguly is set to play for East Zone in the Duleep Trophy game against North at Rajkot, from October 20 to 23 and, should the game last the distance, will be left with just one day to gear up for the first ODI against Sri Lanka at Nagpur. Whether that is good enough preparation for an international clash, not only as a captain but also as a player, is a choice the selectors have to make.

All this may mean that Dravid may have to face the possibility of another stop-gap arrangement as captain, just like he experienced during the Indian Oil Cup in Sri Lanka at the beginning of the season. If Dravid is indeed the choice, it will be interesting to see if the selectors go with this temporary quick-fix solution or appoint him for a longer term.

The selectors will announce the squad for the seven-match series the following day (October 14). With a few players staking a strong claim in the Challenger Trophy, they will have some tricky choices to make in that meeting as well. The decisions taken could also well reveal just how much of an influence Greg Chappell has over the selection panel.