Ganguly dumped for Nagpur Test
Suresh Raina, S Sreesanth and M Kaif figure in 15-man team for England Test.Updated: Feb 24, 2006 13:00 IST
Sourav Ganguly was on Thursday dumped from the Indian team that will play England in the first Test at Nagpur for which the national selectors included 18-year-old leg spinner Piyush Chawla.
Indicating that the former Indian captain's international career is now in real jeopardy, Ganguly did not find a place in the 15-member squad despite the vacancy caused by the injury to fellow left-hander Yuvraj Singh. Ganguly was recently dropped from the one-day team in Pakistan after playing in two Tests there.
Pacemen Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar and opener Gautam Gambhir were also dropped from the squad announced by Chief Selector Kiran More. All-rounder Suresh Raina, who has done well in ODIs, S Sreesanth and Mohd Kaif figure in the team.
More said the team was picked keeping the future of Indian cricket in mind.
"I think we have done very well in one-dayers from which some new faces have emerged. The Board has decided to give these youngsters a chance, it is a very important move for us," More said after a marathon meeting of the National Selection Committee.
"It is not about just one Test, we are looking at the future. We also have the West Indies tour in mind."
Asked about Ganguly's exclusion, a slightly irritated More said, "we did not discuss only one individual. There are 15 players, why don't you ask about Dhoni who has performed very well."
The former wicketkeeper said the selectors had spoken to skipper Rahul Dravid who endorsed the selections.
"We spoke to Dravid. He had some ideas and he said he was happy about it (selection)," he said.
On why the meeting took so much time, the Chief Selector said, "we also discussed the Pakistan tour and all the departments of our game."
More justified Gambhir's exclusion by citing his recent performances which have not quite been up to the mark.
"He has not performed well recently so we decided to give Jaffer a chance. Sehwag and Jaffer will be the specialist openers, we will definitely give Jaffer a go (in the first Test)."
Chawla, one of the four new faces, was obviously rewarded for his outstanding performance in the recent Under-19 World Cup in Colombo.
More said Chawla, who was picked ahead of the seasoned Murali Kartik as the third seamer, was a talent for the future.
"He is talented and has done outstandingly well in the domestic season. The way he bowled and batted in the final of the Under-19 World Cup, that too playing an international final for the first time, should say something about him," the former India stumper said.
More said the openers' slot was an area of concern for the team.
"We had given Gautam (Gambhir) a lot of opportunities. He is not in the best of confidence. That is why we have picked Wasim Jaffer who is a specialist opener," he said.
For the batting line up, the names of Venugopala Rao, Cheteshwar Pujara and Aakash Chopra were discussed, More said.
On including Sreesanth and VRV Singh in place of Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar, More said, "we are creating space for youngsters."
Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh, who were nursing innuries, made it to the squad for the first Test beginning on March one after having regained fitness.
Squad: Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, VVS Laxman, Mohd Kaif, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, Mahendra Singh Dhoni,Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh, VRV Singh, Piyush Chawla, S Sreesanth.
First Published: Feb 23, 2006 17:59 IST