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Dinda replaces injured Umesh

- I was expecting the call, says Bengal pacer
Ashok Dinda

Calcutta: Graduating from the standby status, Ashok Dinda has finally made it to the Indian Test squad.

The national selection committee, headed by Sandeep Patil, met in Mumbai on Tuesday. Dinda was the only change in the 15-member squad for the third Test, which begins from December 5, at the Eden. The Bengal pacer replaces Umesh Yadav, who is down with a back injury.

Dinda had been called as a standby for a viral-affected Ishant Sharma, ahead of the Ahmedabad Test. As Zaheer Khan and Umesh made the playing XI, Dinda was released so that he could play Bengal’s Ranji Trophy tie against Gujarat.

Then, in the lead-up to the Mumbai Test, Dinda, who was attending the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s annual awards ceremony, was asked to stay back as a cover for the injured Umesh.

With Mahendra Singh Dhoni opting for Zaheer Khan as the lone pacer in the playing XI, Dinda had to sit out.

Now, with Umesh failing to recover from his injury, the selectors were somewhat forced to announce a replacement and Dinda was the obvious choice.

The selection committee was to announce the team for the remaining two Test matches, but their decision to keep the fourth Test, to be held in Nagpur, out of the equation means that will be giving much importance to the team’s performance in the third Test before deciding on the squad for the fourth.

“The squads for the fourth Test and the T20 International series will be picked later,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said in a statement.

Dinda, however, was in a pretty relaxed mood on Tuesday. “I was expecting a call in any case, as Umesh wasn’t fit to play… Still, it’s really nice to be in the squad… I always hope for the best,” Dinda said.

Chances of him making the playing XI is not that bright, but the pacer remains optimistic. “Even if I come to hear of my selection at the 11th hour, I’ve the confidence to take up the challenge, get in there and give my best shot,” a confident Dinda asserted.

That he is in the squad for a Test at the Eden makes the development all the more special for him.

“For sure, it will be a dream come true for me if I get to play a Test match at the Eden, which has been my second home for all these years. But at the moment, I just don’t want to think too much ahead… If the opportunity comes, I will grab it with both hands,” he said.