The preliminary list of 30 Indian probables for the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is to be finalised here tomorrow by the national selectors, who may include a few proven but currently out-of-form cricketers.
The meeting of the five-member selection panel headed by Sandeep Patil is scheduled for 1 pm, Cricket Board (BCCI) secretary Sanjay Patel informed.
(From left to right): Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Manoj Tiwary. Will any of them get into the preliminary probables' squad for the upcoming World Cup?
Among the proven performers, who are currently not in top form but were members of the victorious 2011 squad, are Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra.
Yuvraj, who won the Player of the Tournament award in the 2011 World Cup, has been woeful with the bat recently. So it would be interesting to see if the selectors feel he is still good enough to be included in the preliminary list before it is pruned down by January 7th and sent to the ICC ahead of the February 14-March 29 mega event.
The 32-year-old left hander has scored only one half century in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy and failed in the only innings he figured in for North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy here.
Will it be enough for the Punjab batting all rounder, who bowls slow left arm spin, to get into the extended Cup squad, especially with two other players of similar style -- Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel -- is a big question.
Another top performer with the bat who is especially suited for Australian conditions is Virender Sehwag. The Delhi batsman like Yuvraj, has done precious little of note in recent times.
His scores, barring an innings of 80 against Haryana in the north zone one-day league, are nothing much to shout about, but he too may be seen as an X factor for his past record. But at 36, he looks a long shot though he said yesterday he was eager to make the cut.
His Delhi opening partner Gautam Gambhir, also a member of the victorious 2011 ensemble, has shown much better form and looks the more likely candidate to be among those picked in the preliminary list.
Then there are the experienced North Zone bowlers -- off spinner Harbhajan Singh and left-arm seam bowler Ashish Nehra -- who have a good chance to make the list without really catching the eye with their recent performance.
Harbhajan, who has not been in the selectors' radar for some time now with Parvez Rasool getting the nod ahead of him after first choice offie R Ashwin, could make the list without doing anything spectacular since being dropped.
Nehra is, perhaps, the fittest among the leading left arm pace exponents at present with both Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan still having fitness problems. He has also played regularly in the Champions T20 League and the domestic one-day games and has taken a few wickets too even though at 35, age is against him.
Otherwise, the selectors are expected to retain the 14 names that they selected for the last two home ODIs against Sri Lanka along with players who were rested -- M S Dhoni, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron, Mohd Shami, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan and R Jadeja.
Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary, who slammed a brilliant 151 for East Zone against North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy semi-final, is a prime candidate for selection while the selectors might even look at someone like Mumbai Ranji Trophy skipper Suryakumar Yadav for his ability to play blistering knocks as he showed in his innings of 80 for West against South here.
Then there are players like Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal, Saurashish Lahiri and Baba Aparajith who did well in the first few games of Deodhar Trophy.