Zaheer Khan returns to India squad for Aus tour; Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Raina ignored

Zaheer Khan will try proving his match-fitness when he takes the field for Mumbai in their Ranji tie against Orissa Getty Images

Mumbai: Nov 26, 2011

Out of form off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was dropped while Rohit Sharma was recalled in India’s Test squad for next month’s tour of Australia.

Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who missed most part of the England tour and ongoing series against the West Indies because of an ankle injury, has been provisionally in the squad subject to passing the fitness test.

Bengal wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha was also named in the 17-member squad ahead of Parthiv Patel but there were no other major surprises in the team announced by the BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale after a meeting of the selection committee.

The team, to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will have Virender Sehwag as his deputy. Sehwag was yesterday named captain of the team for the upcoming ODI against the West Indies after Dhoni was given rest.

The selectors more or less retained the core of the team that has been doing duty in the ongoing series against the West Indies which meant that Harbhajan continued to be in the wilderness.

Yuvraj Singh, who was not considered for selection for the ODI series against the West Indies after he declared himself unfit, was also not included in the team which has five pacers, including Zaheer, and two specialist spinners in Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin.

Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who has made quite an impression in the few opportunities he has got, has been retained in the team while fit-again Rohit was recalled.

The Test series against Australia will begin with the Boxing Day (December 26) Test in Melbourne, followed by three other matches in Sydney (Jany 3-7), in Perth (Jan 13-17) and in Adelaide (Jan 24-28).

“Zaheer will play in a couple of Ranji Trophy matches. And once he is fully match-fit and everything is fine, he will join the side. He may also go with the team as by the time (the team leaves) he would have played a couple of matches by that time,” said Srikkanth.

Yuvraj Singh, who was not considered for selection for the ODI series against the West Indies after he declared himself unfit, was also not included in the team which has five pacers, including Zaheer, and two specialist spinners.

The batting heavyweights like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Gautam Gambhir were expectedly named in the squad.

Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who has made quite an impression in the few opportunities he has got, has been retained in the team while fit-again Rohit was recalled.

The Test series against Australia will begin with the Boxing Day (December 26) Test in Melbourne, followed by three other matches in Sydney (Jany 3-7), in Perth (Jan 13-17) and in Adelaide (Jan 24-28).

Srikkanth said the selectors have chosen a balanced side and he hoped the team will do well in Australia.

“We have chosen a very balanced side. We have taken everything into account, including fitness and Australian conditions. If you ask me today whether this team can beat Australia in Australia, I would say I’m very confident. We should beat Australia in Australia in a Test series,” he said.

“Our batsman are in form, our bowlers are in form. And now we have all kinds of bowlers. We have fast bowlers, medium fast bowlers, we have swing bowlers, spinners — left arm and off spin,” said Srikkanth.

“So depending on the conditions there the team management will select the team on a match-to match basis. Let’s hope that this side beats Australia in Australia, which has been a very cherished dream for every Indian cricketer, and every Indian fan,” he said. (PTI)

Squad:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c&wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan.