New Delhi: On a day when left-arm spinner Pawan Negi got his maiden call-up in the India A squad for the upcoming T20 match against South Africa, the Delhi selectors and Gautam Gambhir did not find him good enough to be kept in the squad of 15 for the Ranji Trophy opener against Rajasthan.
Negi, who is likely to make his India A debut, has only been kept in the stand-byes of Delhi Ranji Trophy squad.
The Delhi selectors Vinay Lamba (chairman), Rahul Sanghvi and Hari Gidwani today announced the 15-member squad led by Gambhir, which will take on Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy opener at Jaipur from October 1-4. Unmukt Chand has been named Gambhir's deputy and if the veteran opener doesn't do well, the current India A's limited overs captain might take over.
Ishant Sharma, however, won't be playing the first match as the selectors could not get in touch with him. Ishant is currently in Bangalore at the India camp but he will be free in the month of October as he has no international commitments.
"We tried contacting Ishant but neither did he pick up calls nor replied to our text messages. Also we don't know whether he can play a first-class match during the period of his ban. If he is eligible to play we will add him in the squad," chairman of selectors Vinay Lamba told PTI today.
While Virender Sehwag and Mithun Manhas' exit has opened a few doors, the rookies in the squad are off-spinner Pulkit Narang, who bowled well in Buchi Babu Trophy, medium pace bowler Sarang Rawat, who has done well at the U-19's and wicketkeeper Mohit Ahlawat, who replaces Punit Bisht in the wake of some heavy scoring in DDCA Hot Weather and League cricket.
Left-arm pacer Pradeep Sangwan, young batsman Nitish Rana, all-rounder Yogesh Nagar have made comebacks while the pace trio of Sumit Narwal, Pawan Suyal and Parvinder Awana have retained their places.
Negi, who has performed well for Chennai Super Kings in recent times have been branded as a 'T20 specialist' and today turned out to be a day of mixed emotions for the pint-sized lad, who had won MoM award for CSK in a Champions League T20 final.
The squad that was announced has former Delhi stalwart Ajay Sharma's son Manan as the left-arm spinner. The burly Manan has 35 wickets from 10 first-class games and mainly got his victims on rank turners.
Negi, on the other hand, is a far superior batsman than Manan. However, Lamba feels that Manan is much more suited to the longer format.
"Manan has got wickets during last edition of Ranji Trophy. Also Negi didn't do that well in the couple of chances that he got in longer format," Lamba reasoned.
But statistics showed that Negi bowled a total of 21 overs in four innings across the two matches with the only significant number of overs being 14 against Tamil Nadu in his second and last match back in 2011.
Delhi Squad: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Unmukt Chand (vice-captain), Vaibhav Rawal, Milind Kumar, Nitish Rana, Yogesh Nagar, Mannan Sharma, Pulkit Narang, Sumit Narwal, Pawan Suyal, Sarang Rawat, Pradeep Sangwan, Parvinder Awana, Mohit Ahlawat (wk), Dhruv Shorey.
Stand Byes: Pawan Negi, Vikas Tokas, Subodh Bhati and Rishabh Pant. Chief Coach: Ajay Jadeja.