The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shiv Sundar aiming for Test return

Bangalore: Opener Shiv Sundar Das is gunning for a return to the Indian Test team after being out for a year due to a poor run of scores blamed on problems with his technique.

The diminutive Das, who was India’s opener since making his debut against Bangladesh in 2000, was axed after a five-Test tour of West Indies last year, where he aggregated 124 runs at an average of 15.5.

He travelled to England with the Indian team last year but did not play a Test. “Things have really changed after West Indies,” Das said on Friday.

“I think I’ve really worked on the technical aspects and I’m really looking forward to the coming season,” Das said.

His Test woes were attributed to a lack of footwork. Former opener Sunil Gavaskar, known as a master technician, had commented Das was pushing his bat too far forward instead of keeping it in line with his head at point of impact while playing defensive shots.

India start a two-Test series against New Zealand in October, followed by a one-day triangular series also involving Australia. After that, they travel to Australia for four Tests.

Virender Sehwag and Sanjay Bangar have taken over the opening role for India for the last year.

But Das, with a good run on a recent India A tour to England and with Sehwag expressing a preference to bat lower down the order, may not be far away from a return.

“I don’t want to think too much about when I’ll come back,” Das said. “The main thing is that I just want to focus on my batting. We’re playing the domestic Challenger series and Irani Cup matches next month, so I’m looking forward to do well there.”

Das had a good run with the bat with the India A team in June-July this year, scoring 428 runs at 42.80.

“In England, I worked hard on my concentration. I scored some good runs and it was really satisfying. Now the next six weeks will be really important for me.”

India are expected to announce their squad for the first New Zealand Test at Ahmedabad in early October.

Selection advanced

Meanwhile, instead of meeting on August 26, the national selectors will sit down the previous evening and pick the three Challenger sides, adds our Special Correspondent in Calcutta.

This change, one understands, is to facilitate Board secretary S.K. Nair’s presence in New Delhi for a meeting of national sports federations.

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