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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Red, Blue & Green: A Colourful Challenger

The glittering NKP Salve Challenger Trophy
The Challenger Trophy is probably the most interesting concept conceived by the BCCI ever. And this year they have added the right dash of colour(s) to it too. While India Blue is obviously what was earlier India Seniors, A & B have now become Red & Green. While it's fascinating to watch the very best of Indian cricket competing against each other, the NKP Salve Challenger trophy is most popular because of the way it's connected to future selections to Team India. We have seen in the past that one good performance here often catapults a player into the big league. Bowlers who have picked up big wickets have been the luckiest in that sense.

Challenger 2006 is important because of 2007 - the World Cup is just round the corner, and the Indian ODI team is in the middle of a big slump. Which means, a few premier seats are up for the grabs. Sehwag's position in the team is very surprisingly a little shaky ( who would have bargained for Sehwag becoming a Test mega-success and and ODI failure?) and Ganguly is dying to make a comeback. The Challenger could be his last chance to make an impression. The Indian pacers performed not too creditably in Malaysia, and coupled with the fact that the lone spinner was a success, the selectors would definitely have a re-look at Kumble. The biggest grudge of Laxman's life has been his exclusion from the World Cup 2003 team, and he will be vying to make amends here. Interestingly, the person he lost a place to in the previous edition of the World Cup has again made a timely impression with his fighting knock in Malaysia and is a part of the "Blues" now. Zaheer Khan and Piyush Chawla are the other leading contenders. Forty-two of India's best are in the fray - let's see who comes out with flying colours

1 comment:

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