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Friday, April 16, 1999 Published at 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK

India: Player Profiles

Mohammad Azharuddin (captain)

Age: 36
Teams: Derbyshire, Hyderabad
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium

[ image: Mohammad Azharuddin ]

The most experienced one-day cricketer in the world, having played in more than 300 matches and scored over 8,800 runs - both world records.

Graceful right-handed batsman, known for his wristy strokeplay; identical balls outside off stump will readily be dispatched to opposing boundaries.

Made an immediate impact by becoming the first player to score a century in each of his first three innings in Test cricket. Has suffered at the hands of fickle Indian selectors, now back as captain.

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Ajit Agarkar

Age: 21
Team: Bombay
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium-fast

Created a new record when he took his 50th one-day international wicket in his 23rd match - only 182 days after making his debut - passing Dennis Lillee's previous best of 24 matches.

Spindly, with a smooth action, can move the ball both ways but suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in December and needed to pass a fitness test before being considered for the squad.

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Nikhil Chopra

Age: 25
Team: Dehli
Style: Right hand bat; Off spin

An off break bowler with very little international experience.

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Rahul Dravid

Age: 26
Team: Karnataka
Stlye: Right hand bat; Off spin

[ image: Rahul Dravid ]

Has suffered more than most from the whims of the national selectors. With a Test batting average in the mid-fifties there can hardly be any doubt, though in the one-day game he has been criticised for lacking the ability to improvise.

An attacking batsman, he plays the straight drive particularly well. Has the technique to cope with the swing and seam that could be a feature of this World Cup.

Recently, has been seen more on Indian television as one of Pepsi's weapons in the cola advertising war than on the cricket field.

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Saurav Ganguly

Age: 25
Team: Bengal
Style: Left hand bat; Right arm medium

[ image: Saurav Ganguly ]

Has shown himself equally adept at Test and one-day cricket. An elegant left-handed batsman, Ganguly scored a century in each of his first two Test matches against England in 1996. He recently became only the fourth player to score a century and take four or more wickets in a one-day international.

Has the technique and temperament to adapt with ease from Test cricket - in which his average is a shade off 50 - to one-day internationals.

Not the worst medium pace bowler, once claiming 5-15 in a one-day match. Must take his fielding more seriously and can be careless running between the wickets.

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Ajay Jadeja

Age: 28
Team: Haryana
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium

[ image: Ajay Jadeja ]

A versatile cricketer, has had success both as an opening batsman and lower down the order, though his preferred position is opening with Tendulkar.

Can look sleepy at the crease, Jadeja nonetheless has the ability to hit the ball cleanly, as he showed recently while batting through a one-day innings for 130 not out against Sri Lanka.

Captains the side in Azharuddin's absence, he also bowls medium pace, as England found out to their cost when he took three wickets in an over in Sharjah. An enthusiastic fielder.

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Amay Khurasiya

Age: 27
Major Team: Madhya Pradesh
Style: Left hand bat; Left arm orthodox

Another player of limited experience but recently scored a half-century on his one-day international debut against Sri Lanka in Pune.

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Anil Kumble

Age: 28
Team: Karnataka
Style: Right hand bat; Leg break/googly

[ image: Anil Kumble ]

Guaranteed himself cricketing immortality by taking all 10 Pakistan wickets in a match earlier this year for the second best figures in Test match history.

Will be remembered for those 10 wickets but has taken over 200 in both Tests and one-day internationals.

Ironically, had been drifting somewhat before that 10-wicket feat. There was a time when few batsman could play his sliding leg-breaks but the best players soon found a method to counter him.

On a turning wicket can be unplayable but in one-day matches he concentrates on accuracy rather than spin.

In 1995, became the first player for five years to take 100 wickets in the championship for Northamptonshire. Designated a special officer of the police force in his home town in Bangalore for his 10-wicket haul.

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Debashish Mohanty

Age: 22
Team: Orissa
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium-fast

Not in the original squad of 19, the Indian Cricket Board had to seek special permission to included Mohanty, a promising medium-fast bowler.

He was a somewhat controversial choice when he became the first player from Orissa to play Test cricket, but proved his worth by capturing four Sri Lankan wickets, three of them top order batsmen.

Included in the World Cup squad with early season English wickets in mind.

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Nayan Mongia (wicket)

Age: 29
Team: Baroda
Style: Right hand bat; Wicketkeeper

[ image: Nayan Mongia ]

Established now as the first choice Indian wicketkeeper, Mongia can easily be missed (visibly if not audibly) behind the stumps - testament to his neatness as a keeper but also an indication that there is nothing lavish in his glovework.

Comfortable standing both back and up to the stumps, Mongia is a rarity among international one-day keepers now in that he bats as low as seven in the order.

Has had his moments with the bat, however, notably a courageous innings of 152 against Australia in a Test match.

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Venkatesh Prasad

Age: 29
Team: Karnataka
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium-fast

[ image: Venkatesh Prasad ]

Formed a testing new ball partnership with Srinath when India last toured England in 1996 where the conditions in May and June suited his seamers. With the World Cup to be held over the same period, that partnership may once again come to the fore.

Prasad does not appear to make full use of his muscular build, bowling instead within himself. If there is movement in the pitch there is little more he needs to do but on unhelpful surfaces he can be costly.

Bore the brunt of the Indian bowling attack when Srinath was injured in 1996 and voted Indian cricketer of the year in 1997.

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Sadagopan Ramesh

Age: 23
Team: Tamil Nadu
Style: Left hand bat; Off spin

[ image: Sadagopan Ramesh ]

A stylish left-handed batsman who relies more on timing than power to score his runs, Ramesh is a valuable find for India.

Scored his first century in his fourth Test - having already hit three fifties - against Sri Lanka just after tea on the first day of the match, dominating a 232-run partnership with Dravid.

Selected for the final squad of 15 without having played a single one-day international.

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Robin Singh Sr

Age: 35
Team: Tamil Nadu
Style: Left hand bat; Right arm medium

[ image: Robin Singh Sr ]

Born in Trinidad, Robin Singh emigrated to India and, ironically, was given his first taste of international cricket on a tour of a the Caribbean in 1988-89. With little to show for his efforts Singh was promptly overlooked for the next seven years.

Though principally a batsman, he impressed as a medium pace bowler capable of taking crucial wickets when next given a chance in one-day matches.

Eventually, the runs also came, with a century and five fifties, though there is a feeling he is living on borrowed time at this level.

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Javagal Srinath

Age: 29
Teams: Gloucestershire, Karnataka
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium fast

[ image: Javagal Srinath ]

The only Indian bowler of genuine pace and hostility. For some time the spearhead of the bowling attack, he has suffered from injuries over the past two years that have held him back.

Took a hat-trick on his first-class debut against Hyderabad and followed that with two wickets in successive balls in the second innings.

Showed what he can do in English conditions during India's tour of 1996 and a year spent with Gloucestershire in 1995 where he took 87 championship wickets at under 20.

Can swing effectively with the bat - has half-centuries in both Tests and one-day internationals.

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Sachin Tendulkar

Age: 26
Teams: Yorkshire, Bombay
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium; Off spin

[ image: Sachin Tendulkar ]

In his tenth year as an international cricketer and still only 26. Can hypnotise with his strokeplay, deserves every praise he gets: in skill, temperament and charm there is no batsman to match him in world cricket.

The bare facts are impressive enough. He played his first Test aged 16, scored his first century against England a year later, and he has a combination of 40 hundreds and over 13,000 runs in Tests and one-day internationals combined.

There is no batting record not within his capabilities. As an opening batsman he averaged 87.16 during the last World Cup.

But there is more to Tendulkar, all 5ft 5in of him. There is enchantment in his strokes - favouring his bottom hand he is by no means classical, punching rather than driving, but always with immaculate footwork. A useful bowler in one-dayers.

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