New Delhi, Mar.17 : The national cricket selectors announced the 14-man Indian squad for the first two Tests, of the three-Test series, against South Africa at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Monday.
Middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh and spinner Harbhajan Singh have been declared fit to play in the first two Tests. Seamer Rudra Pratap Singh, all-rounder Irfan Pathan, and pacer Sreesanth will be the three fast bowlers in the squad.
Dilip Vengsarkar-led national selection committee has also included Murali Kartik as third spinner in the squad. Young Uttar Pradesh spinner Piyush Chawla was included as reserve spin bowler.
Despite his excellent form in the recently concluded Commonwealth Bank Series Down Under, Gautam Gambhir has not found a place in the 14-man squad. And Wasim Jaffer has retained his place as an opener in the side.
Young pace sensation Ishant Sharma, who took the maximum number of wickets in the recently concluded Commonwealth Bank Series, was ruled out of the first Test against South Africa due to injury.
The 19-year-old was available for his scheduled fitness tests in Bangalore on Sunday at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. Ishant is still recovering from the injury that he sustained in Australia. With quality bench strength of pacers available, the selectors have decided not to rush him back in the side and give Ishant enough time to recuperate, according to reports.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan will undergo fitness tests on March 21.
The first Test will be played in Chennai from March 26 to 30 and the second Test in Ahmedabad from April 3 to 7. Chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar had confirmed last week that Anil Kumble would lead the team in the three-Test home series.
Squad for first two Tests: Anil Kumble (Captain), Wasim Jaffer, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Sreesanth, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla (back-up).
Story first published: Monday, March 17, 2008, 20:09 [IST]
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