Test, ODI squads for NZ tour to be announced today | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Test, ODI squads for NZ tour to be announced today

Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel are set to return to the team when the selectors meet in Chennai today to pick the Indian squads for the upcoming one-day and Test series against New Zealand, Anand Vasu reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 13, 2009 13:40 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times

If the five wise men apply purely cricketing logic — and they cannot always be accused of doing that — when they meet in Chennai on Friday morning to pick the limited overs and Test squads for the New Zealand tour, they should not have a tough time.

For one thing, they're going to pick squads of 16, which gives them elbow room to pick the combination the captain is comfortable with — five quick bowlers, two spinners, two wicketkeepers and seven batsmen.

The discussion point is around the second wicketkeeper's position, which is likely to go to Dinesh Karthik, whose competent glovework has been matched by some innings of high quality. Parthiv Patel has runs under the belt too, but his mistakes, made in key games in full view of the selectors, could cost him.

You would think there are fast bowling spots up for grabs, but the contenders simply have not done enough. Sreesanth continues to be dogged by injury and blow hot and cold. RP Singh also has struggled with fitness and when he has played, has shown no signs of being ready for an international return.

The other question mark is Munaf Patel, who was replaced by L Balaji in the ODI team in Sri Lanka. If Munaf is fit - and that's a big if given the medium-pacer's history of non-disclosure of niggles — then Balaji should automatically miss out. Similarly, Ravindra Jadeja, despite an encouraging beginning, must make way for the fit-again Harbhajan Singh.

The selectors will be tempted to take another look at Robin Uthappa, who has scored heavily and quickly for Karnataka and South Zone. If they keep faith in Rohit Sharma in all forms, however, there's no room for either Uthappa (limited overs) or S Badrinath (Tests).

Pragyan Ojha has done enough to keep his place in the limited overs squad as the second spinner, while Amit Mishra too should sleep easy. The selectors, it seems, also have Murali Kartik in their sights, but will give those holding the roles at the moment a longer chance to either cement their places or fail and make way.

With the team wearing a well-settled look and going from strength to strength in their quest to be No 1, the chances of the selectors pulling a rabbit out of the hat are minimal. But the finer points will all come down to how Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his think-tank see things vis-à-vis the selectors.