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Gambhir forces his way into Test team

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Opener Wasim Jaffer and middle order batsman Yuvraj Singh have been dropped from the Indian Test Team which was picked for this month’s 3-Test Series against Sri Lanka. Gautam Gambhir has pushed Jaffer out of the team with his scintillating batting against all the world-class bowling attacks in the last season or so. India will be missing the services of their non-stop performing star MS Dhoni, who has opted out of the series to recover from fatigue. It was also a day when the Selection Committee named 30 probables for the Champions Trophy to be held in September. The 30 probables doesn’t have the names of both Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly with the Selectors clearly opting for youth!

Skipper Anil Kumble returns back to the team having missed the last test match played by India which was against South Africa at Kanpur. The squad also has a comeback to pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who last played for India during the 1st Test against Australia way back in December 2007. Zaheer will partner Ishant Sharma with the new ball to add the much needed edge but India will still miss the services of Sreesanth as he is yet to recover from his side strain. The back-up pace options are RP Singh and Munaf Patel.

Surprisingly, the Selectors have decided to have both Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel as wicket keepers for just the short 3-Test Series. Wasim Jaffer has lost his place to the more sensational Gautam Gambhir with the Delhi left hander literally forcing his inclusion in the Test team. Gambhir has had some consistently brilliant batting performances in the T20s and ODIs and excluding such a wonderful talent in roaring form will only be huge blunder. Another causality is Yuvraj Singh, who lost his place to Rohit Sharma. During the home series against Pakistan, Yuvraj came up with a blinder of a knock which almost secured a certain place in the middle order. But the southpaw destroyed his chances after a pale show in the Australian Test Series. The Selectors may have also been thinking that Yuvraj is not a confident player against good spinners which definitely is Sri Lanka’s strength.

Rohit Sharma may just be an understudy on the tour to the experienced Test campaigners that includes Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. India have picked three specialist spinners which has the Skipper himself, Harbhajan Singh and the young Pragyan Ojha. The Hyderabad left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha had a good start to his international career during the Asia Cup where he could bowl with some consistent flight and turn. He has knocked out the more experienced Piyush Chawla, the leggie who looked below par during the last two One Day tournaments. Although there is no Dhoni in the team, this Indian team looks a dream outfit, in particular the batting line-up. The Test Series is most likely to boil down to the contest between Murali & Ajantha Versus the star-studded batting line-up of India! The first Test begins on the 23rd at the traditionally seamer-friendly Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.

India’s Test Squad for Sri Lanka :

Champions Trophy Probables for India : Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain & WK), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Parthiv Patel (WK), Manpreet Gony, S Badrinath, Mohammad Kaif, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Sreesanth, Pragyan Ojha, Piyush Chawla, Manoj Tiwary, Abhishek Nayar, Pankaj Singh, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Murali Kartik

Originally posted 2008-07-08 04:30:21.

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