The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dravid down, Sourav still out

Ahmedabad, Dec. 17: Rahul Dravid has been hospitalised with a bout of diarrhoea that has ruled him out of the Test beginning tomorrow.

Virender Sehwag will stand in for Dravid who, with a record unbroken run of 94 Tests, has never missed such a game since his debut in 1996.

Media manager M. Baladitya, who took Dravid to hospital, said: “He is very weak. He is not able to consume anything and is on intravenous fluids. The fever, though, has subsided. But it will take at least another couple of days for him to be out of hospital.”

Dravid’s wife Vijeta, a doctor herself, was in touch with him from Nagpur.

If fans of Sourav Ganguly were seeing a window of opportunity in Ahmedabad, the team management nipped such hopes in the bud. It has decided not to seek a replacement but go ahead with a line-up that has been reduced to 13 from the original 15.

At 6.30 pm, hours before the start of the Test, the management announced that skipper Dravid had been ruled out for Motera.

Dravid, on antibiotics with a viral infection during the Kotla Test, was admitted to Rajasthan Hospital last night at 11.30 with diarrhoea. But the official announcement of his inability to play was kept pending till sundown, though it is unusual for anyone to be in hospital one day and on the field the next.

The playing XII announced this evening includes Mohammed Kaif and Wasim Jaffer, which means India is going in with three openers. Although Sourav was ostensibly dropped to spare him the ignominy of carrying drinks, his being in the squad might have saved the selectors a problem or two.

Also, his experience as former captain may have come in handy for Sehwag, who will be debuting as skipper in a Test though he has led in two ODIs.

The selectors decided against exercising their option of flying in a replacement, in spite of distance not being a problem. Calcutta is not very far from Ahmedabad, and a dial-up in good time would have sufficed.

“We’ve got some good back-up players,” coach Greg Chappell said at a news conference.

“I reckon you will have queries on the hot topic (of Sourav’s omission from the team). But unfortunately, I cannot comment since this involves the selection process. I will take questions strictly pertaining to the match,” he said as he took his chair.

Chappell stonewalled a query on whether selectors’ involvement in deciding the final XI was justified. “That’s the system. I don’t want to raise a debate at the moment.”

Even before Dravid’s illness, the squad was down to 14 with Murali Kartik being allowed to play a Ranji Trophy match.

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