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Sachin is back, Kumble rested

SACHIN TENDULKAR is in. Anil Kumble is not. And the curious reason for keeping the spinner out: selectors "have some plans for him" and they don't want him to be injured. Sourav Ganguly, expectedly, is still out.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 13:23 IST

SACHIN TENDULKAR is in. Anil Kumble is not. And the curious reason for keeping the spinner out: selectors "have some plans for him" and they don't want him to be injured. Sourav Ganguly, expectedly, is still out.

The BCCI, which on Thursday declared the 15-member squad for the tri-series in Sri Lanka next month, had a surprise in store: the inclusion of Dinesh Mongia even as Zaheer Khan remained out of favour.

According to Selection Committee chairman Kiran More, the 29-year-old Mongia was included on the basis of his "performances in the domestic season and his county performances over the past two seasons". "He comes in as an all-rounder and especially as a left-arm spinner," said More.

What is ironic is that Mongia was not picked when he did well in the past and has been selected now when he is not bowling so well.

In the ongoing county season (the only indication of his current form), in 10 games he has got only 8 wickets at an average of 42.5, with a strike rate of over 93 and a best of 2-62. Zaheer Khan, though not competing for the same slot, has taken 48 wickets in 8 games at an average of 24.43 with a best of 9-138 and a strike rate of 38.7.

With More admitting that fast bowling is a problem area and given the slump in Irfan Pathan's recent performance, Khan's form would have made him the ideal back-up man.