The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Question mark over Kumble, Laxman
- Gambhir, Karthik will not be in squad; Kaif, Dhoni to get call-up

Bangalore: With the Test series heading for a nail-biting finish, neither the selectors nor Sourav Ganguly and John Wright have been able to give much thought to the squad for the first two ODIs against Pakistan.

The selection for Kochi (April 2) and Vizag (April 5) is slated here for Monday.

According to The Telegraph's sources, there's a 'question mark' over Anil Kumble and V.V.S. Laxman. Apparently, only a 'request' from the captain and coach could see them in the XIV.

Both Kumble and Laxman, it may be recalled, were dropped for the last set of ODIs ' in Bangladesh, three months ago.

While Murali Kartik will be there if Kumble does get ignored, there's uncertainty over the other berth. In Bangladesh, that was occupied by Dinesh Mongia.

'Nobody has really had a stand-out performance in recent times... That one slot, then, can go to anybody,' is how a source put it.

What's confirmed (as of late Sunday), of course, is that two Test regulars ' Gautam Gambhir and Dinesh Karthik ' are going to head for New Delhi and Chennai, respectively, not Kochi.

Mohammed Kaif and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be the ones to be called up one more time. Kaif is an old hand; Dhoni's debut was in Bangladesh.

The certainties are: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Kaif, Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ashish Nehra and Sourav himself.

Of the two berths that remain, one is going to be taken by Kumble or Kartik, with the other appearing to be absolutely 'open'...

It's to be seen whether an Ajit Agarkar will get in there.


Shahid Afridi reached his half-century in Bangalore on Sunday off 26 balls.
The following is the list of the five quickest Test fifties:

Jacques Kallis off 24 balls (for SA vs Zimbabwe in Cape Town, 2004-05)
Ian Botham off 26 balls (for England vs India in Delhi, 1981-82)
Shahid Afridi off 26 balls (for Pakistan vs India in Bangalore, 2004-05)
Yousuf Youhana off 27 balls (for Pakistan vs SA in Cape Town, 2002-03)
Kapil Dev off 30 balls (for India vs Pakistan in Karachi, 1982-83)

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