The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav to miss Mumbai Test as well
- Team India's regular captain not sure about recovering in time for the Eden ODI versus Pakistan
Sourav Ganguly

Calcutta: The Indian squad for the largely inconsequential fourth and final Test against Australia, in Mumbai from Wednesday, will not have a 15th player as regular captain Sourav Ganguly has lost the battle to regain hundred per cent mobility.

He didn't feature in the last Test in Nagpur, where India suffered the most crushing runs-wise defeat, either.

Sourav, supposed to undergo a formal fitness test on Monday morning, didn't wait for what would have been a futile exercise and made his decision known on Sunday evening.

'I haven't recovered (from the right thigh strain) and, specifically, can't run... Instead of staying on with the boys, I'm going to leave for Calcutta tomorrow,' a despondent Sourav told The Telegraph when contacted at the Taj in Mumbai.

He was non-committal when asked if he will be available for the high-on-stakes November 13 ODI, versus Pakistan, at the Eden.

'Right now, I can't say anything definitely... But, there's almost a fortnight to go...' Sourav maintained. Incidentally, an injury kept him out of the last ODI at the Eden as well ' the November 2003 tri-series final against Australia.

To speak of the present, Sourav's decision has given Rahul Dravid time to work on a strategy whereby some pride (at least) is reclaimed.

Gautam Gambhir

In Nagpur, for example, the stand-in captain got just a few hours in conditions almost tailor-made for the Australians. The forthcoming Test is going to be his fifth in the hottest seat around.

Meanwhile, it's confirmed that rookie Gautam Gambhir will open with fellow-Delhiwala Virender Sehwag. Dheeraj Subhas Jadhav has to wait. The other debutant, obviously, is going to be wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.

Both Gambhir and Karthik have played ODIs. Out, of course, are Akash Chopra and Parthiv Patel.

The XI will see two other changes: Ashish Nehra taking Ajit Agarkar's place and Harbhajan Singh (who has practised in Mumbai) coming back after missing Nagpur owing to a stomach upset and viral.

Murali Kartik, then, is going to return to the reserves' bench.

Yet again, though, the Indians won't be at full-strength ' one isn't just referring to Sourav, as spearhead Irfan Pathan too won't be around. All this has made the ask even more challenging.

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