Veterans Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir's prospects of making an India comeback are all but over as the celebrated opening duo stayed away from selection in the 15-member North Zone squad for the Deodhar Trophy, starting November 29. The team will be led by senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. (Read: Dhoni Goes Hunting for Bats Ahead of Australia Tour)
The North Zone selection committee, headed by national selector Vikram Rathour, decided to reward all those who have performed in the North Zone leg of Vijay Hazare Trophy.
"Today, at the start of the selection committee meeting, the chairman Vikram Rathour intimated us that Viru (Virender Sehwag) has specifically told him that he doesn't want to play Deodhar Trophy. He has insisted that some of the promising juniors may be picked. Gauti (Gautam Gambhir) has also decided against playing but I have no clue about why he pulled out," a member of the North Zone selection committee told PTI on Tuesday. (Related: BCCI Puts Off AGM Again, Awaits Court Verdict on Srinivasan, Sundar Raman)
It has been learnt that Sehwag has told some of the top DDCA officials that he does not want to block the road of promising juniors from Delhi.
There are enough indications that Sehwag and Gambhir are fully aware that there is very little chance for them to make it into the 30-member probables for the World Cup with all three current openers amongst runs and Murali Vijay - the fourth opener - as their cover.
In any case, Sehwag and Gambhir's selection would have come under scanner as they tallied 122 and 178 runs from five matches respectively. More importantly, they scored in only one of the matches where Gambhir hit 93 and Sehwag scored 80. (Read: Gavaskar, Kapil, Honoured to be Part of Narendra Modi's Cricket Diplomacy in Australia)
The only two seniors in the side are Harbhajan and Yuvraj Singh and the team mostly consists of youngsters. Former India U-19 captain Unmukt Chand has made the cut despite his poor show of 36 runs from five matches.
Unmukt had recently scored against West Indies in a couple of warm-up games and is considered to be one for the future. Similar is the case with Manan Vohra - the dashing Punjab strokemaker.