Munaf, Powar recalled, R.P. Singh dropped for Kanpur Test

April 6th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Avishek Roy
Ahmedabad, April 6 (IANS) Pacer Munaf Patel and off-spinner Ramesh Powar were recalled while Rudra Pratap Singh was dropped for the third and final Test against South Africa starting in Kanpur Friday, even as fitness problems continued to haunt the hosts. South Africa lead 1-0 in the three-Test series and Indian selectors are facing a tough time getting the team combination right for the Kanpur Test.

Powar is reinforcement for skipper Anil Kumble, who is yet to be declared fit. Ishant Sharma, who was out of the first two Tests due to toe and finger injuries, has also been named.

But both Sharma and Kumble would be eligible to play only after they pass a fitness test Thursday. Ishant is currently undergoing rehabilitation in the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

Kumble and coach Gary Kirsten were present in the selection committee meeting that lasted for around two hours at the team hotel here.

“There are some nagging injury problems and we will take a call before the day of the match,” Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah told reporters Sunday.

The Indian team were struggling to put up 11 fit players for the second Test in which the visitors thrashed them within three days. The scene is not quite different for the third Test as well.

It was only on the first day of the match here that Kumble, who was doubtful with a groin injury, decided to take the field. India’s new pace sensation Ishant reported here two days before the match for a fitness test but had to sit out as he was not fit.

Sachin Tendulkar is already out of the third Test after aggravating his groin injury during the drawn Test at Chennai.

Sreesanth is also not fully fit and new inclusion Munaf has been found lacking in fitness time and again in his short career.

“He (Kumble) wants to play the game. He may not be fit. We will take a call on Kumble and Ishant on April 10,” Shah said.

Two selectors will fly to Kanpur and the list of 16 players will be pruned down to 14 after fitness update of the team.

The team management wanted three spinners in the side and that was why Powar was brought in, if Kumble fails to take the ground.

Powar played only two Tests last year, both against Bangladesh. Munaf’s last Test was against Pakistan in Kolkata in December.

Asked about the controversy regarding the fast and pacy track that has given an advantage to the visitors, Shah said it is the prerogative of the curator to make a good track.

“That is up to him what kind of track he makes. Obviously, he knows the condition very well and he might know that shaving of grass in so much heat will not help. It is his duty to prepare a good track, otherwise the centre might lose it as a venue,” he said.

He also said that the team did not suffer any distraction due to events related to the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“The players know their responsibility and attending one or two functions does not make any difference,” said Shah.

The squad (from): Anil Kumble (captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (vice-captain/wicketkeeper), Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, V.V.S. Laxman, Wasim Jaffer, Mohammed Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar.

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