The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thinktank’s backing ensures place for Yuvraj
- TEST SERIES SQUAD - Joshi, Sarandeep miss out as Powar, Kartik retain berths

Lahore: Yuvraj Singh, who made his Test debut against New Zealand last October, is in the XV for the three-match series against Pakistan. Though some of the national selectors, who met in New Delhi on Monday, favoured sending opener Sadagopan Ramesh as the seventh batsman, the thinktank made a strong case for Yuvraj.

“He’s too good a player to be kept out of the Test squad... Indeed, somebody of Yuvraj’s class should be an option for the longer version... I’m happy he has made it,” captain Sourav Ganguly, who has been backing Yuvraj since his one-day debut (October, 2000), told The Telegraph.

Sourav himself didn’t say as much but, if the need arises, Yuvraj could open. The specialists, however, are Virender Sehwag and Akash Chopra. Actually, all the batsmen picked themselves.

Yuvraj, for his part, is delighted. “It’s great... I hope, this time, I won’t be discarded after the Test series... I’ve been over the moon from the time Sourav called to inform me of my selection,” he remarked, speaking exclusively at the Pearl Continental.

As expected, Anil Kumble and Ajit Agarkar have returned after an injury-forced break. One needn’t emphasise their presence is going to lift the quality of the Team India attack. Both, it may be recalled, played a big role in the 1-1 Test series scoreline in Australia.

While it’s no surprise that Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Irfan Pathan are in the XV, Murali Kartik and Ramesh Powar seem to have made it by default. According to well-placed sources, the thinktank favoured Sunil Joshi and Sarandeep Singh, but the selectors felt the two spinners already in Pakistan were “bowling better.”

If anything, that’s a strong indictment for the left-armer and the offie back home.

The thinktank sought three spinners after “studying” the recent track record of the three centres where the Tests will be staged — Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi. In fact, in accommodating an extra spinner, the selectors eliminated the possibility of a second wicketkeeper (besides Parthiv Patel).

Mahender Singh Dhoni, therefore, has to wait.

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