Dhoni rested, Yuvraj dropped in an unprecedented reshuffle

July 8th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Mumbai, July 8 (IANS) In an unprecedented large-scale reshuffle of the Test squad, the Indian cricket selectors Tuesday effected as many as eight changes from the side that played the last Test, against South Africa at Kanpur in April, for the tour to Sri Lanka. Of the eight changes, only Mahendra Singh Dhoni went on his own as he sought a break from non-stop cricket for over a year. Dhoni’s deputy for the One-Dayers Yuvraj singh, however, has been left out of the 16-member squad for the three-Test tour, starting July 23.

The players dropped were Yuvraj, Wasim Jaffer, Mohammad Kaif, Irfan Pathan, Shantakumaran Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar.

In Dhoni’s absence, Virender Sehwag has regained vice-captaincy and he will have his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir as opening partner, the left-hander coming in for Mumbai’s Jaffer who despite double centuries — against West Indies and Pakistan — could not cement his place in the side after a string of poor scores against Australia and South Africa. Gambhir batted with resolution, scoring consistently to be back in the Test squad.

Yuvraj was totally out of form in the four-Test series against Australia and then in the three-Test matches against South Africa, though he made a big hundred (169) in his comeback Test against Pakistan in Bangalore last year. His place has gone to young Rohit Sharma who has shown good temperament and determination besides being a good fielder.

Dinesh Karthick will be the number one wicket-keeper in place of Dhoni with Parthiv Patel as the back-up stumper. Both the wicket-keepers can also double up as opening batsmen.

Sachin Tendulkar, who was out with a groin injury since the first Test against South Africa in Chennai, is back in the team and so is Harbhajan Singh after serving a five-ODI ban for slapping Sreesnath during an Indian Premier League match. A side strain has ruled Sreesanth out.

Zaheer Khan has also returned to the side after staying out with a nagging heel injury that has kept him out after the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne in December.

Hyderabad left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha forced his way into the Test squad for the first time after his impressive performance in the Asia Cup in Pakistan.


Anil Kumble (captain) Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, V. V. S. Laxman, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, R. P. Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, Dinesh Karthik.

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