| Ashish Nehra
Bangalore: Left-arm quick Ashish Nehra, who went for 80 in his comeback match on Wednesday, has been dropped for Saturday’s all-important game versus New Zealand in Hyderabad. Should Team India make the November 18 tri-series final, against Australia, he won’t be considered for selection then either.
Nehra’s place has gone to Avishkar Salvi, who was in the 14 originally picked for the first three matches. An injury saw him being replaced by Laxmipathy Balaji — in time, Nehra took Balaji’s berth.
“Basically, we want Nehra to get into rhythm for the tougher battles that lie ahead — and, that can now best be done by playing Ranji Trophy. Therefore, he has been advised to make himself available for Delhi’s next game,” captain Sourav Ganguly told The Telegraph.
The quick, then, should feature in the potentially high-voltage engagement versus Mumbai, starting from Saturday.
Nehra, though, appears to have taken his exclusion rather badly. In fact, he spent over half-an-hour with the captain in the latter’s hotel room on Thursday afternoon, before the team flew to Hyderabad. Incidentally, for moral support, he was accompanied by Harbhajan Singh. However, Harbhajan left after about 15 minutes.
Despite being dropped for the remainder of the tri-series, Nehra has been shortlisted in the 20 for the four Tests in Australia. Obviously, eventually, he will make the 16.
From what one understands, the Indians are likely to play all three quicks — Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar and Salvi — on Saturday.
In case only one spinner is selected, then that slot could well go to Harbhajan, assuming he has recovered from the severe chest infection. If the thinktank opts for two spinners — and a batsman less — then it’s more than likely Murali Kartik will be preferred.
Agarkar, by the way, may be promoted as pinch-hitter should Team India bat second in Hyderabad. The target too could influence that decision.
Meanwhile, with Hemang Badani retained, the squad is 15-strong.