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Anil Kumble not available

Vijayawada: Senior pro Anil Kumble has made himself unavailable for the two-Test series in New Zealand. As a result, Murali Kartik, who made a comeback in the ODIs, which ended Sunday, has emerged a certainty for one of the 16 berths.

According to a very well-placed source of The Telegraph, Kumble has asked for a break on “personal grounds”. It’s not clear whether he will be available for the second half of the tour, when seven ODIs will be played.

The national selectors, with Brijesh Patel in the chair, meet in Mumbai Monday to select the squad for the Test series. Patel’s colleagues are Kirti Azad, Pranab Roy, Kiran More and Sanjay Jagdale.

Meanwhile, in another development late Sunday, some of the selectors are inclined to “rest” another veteran, Jawagal Srinath, for the two Tests. He will, of course, be around in the ODIs.

However, it’s to be seen whether captain Sourav Ganguly will agree to Srinath being given a break. “Look, we wanted to rest him during the just-ended ODIs, but couldn’t because of the way the series shaped up. Now, we’ve got to give him a break. He needs to get stronger and fitter,” is how one of the selectors put it.

Srinath, it may be recalled, came out of a short (Test-specific) retirement in end-September.

After some debate, it’s more or less confirmed that a second wicketkeeper (besides Parthiv Patel, that is) will be picked. Deep Dasgupta still stands a reasonably good chance — as has already been reported in these columns. Only, quite a few have taken note of his shoddy 'keeping in the Ranji game against Himachal.

Clearly, Deep’s backers aren’t going to have it easy.

Incidentally, there’s much speculation over whether both Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj Singh will make the cut. The suspense, so to say, should clear not many hours from now.

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