Vol. 5 Num 479 Fri. September 30, 2005  

Sourav rather will practise

India's Sourav Ganguly is unlikely to attend a meeting of Test captains called by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Australia next month so that he can concentrate on his batting, an official said here Thursday.

The October 12 meeting in Sydney, where all the 10 Test-playing nations will be represented, clashes with the Challenger domestic one-day tournament in India from October 10-13.

The tournament, featuring the top 36 players in the country divided into three teams, is seen as a selection trial ahead of the seven-match one-day series against Sri Lanka starting on October 25.

"Ganguly has already made it clear he wants to play the Challenger," a cricket board official told AFP.

"He can't be at both places at the same time."

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid, who is in Australia for next month's ICC Super Series between Australia and the Rest of the World, will be asked to represent India at the meeting in case Ganguly opts out, the official said.

Ganguly, 33, has been at the centre of storm in recent weeks over a damaging rift with Indian coach Greg Chappell, who wanted the left-hander to stand down as captain because of his poor batting form.

India's cricket chiefs worked out a truce between the warring duo on Tuesday and asked them to mend their differences for the sake of the national team.

Ganguly, India's most successful Test captain with 21 wins, has scored 5,066 runs from 84 Tests and 10,123 runs in 279 one-dayers.

But a laboured six-hour century against a weakened Zimbabwe earlier this month was Ganguly's first international hundred since November, 2003.

India's cricket selectors, who named Ganguly captain only for the Zimbabwe tour, will pick the skipper for the one-day series against Sri Lanka after the Challenger tournament.

Dravid and swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag are the only two Indians in the world teams for the Super Series which features three one-dayers in Melbourne from October 5-9 and a six-day Test in Sydney from October 14.