The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Selectors wanted specialist Chopra
- Sehwag's partner against Australia

Calcutta: Till the other day, Team India captain Sourav Ganguly spoke about either Akash Chopra or Yuvraj Singh opening with Virender Sehwag in the Tests versus Australia.

During Friday's selection committee meeting in Bangalore, though, Sourav agreed to a suggestion from Kiran More and Co. that Sehwag's partner must be the specialist Chopra.

'The chairman (More) and the rest of us strongly felt Chopra should return to the slot he lost in the last Test (Rawalpindi). And, whatever his views in the lead-up to the selection, Sourav didn't disagree,' one of the selectors told The Telegraph.

More's colleagues on the freshly-constituted committee are old hand Pranab Roy, Yashpal Sharma, Gopal Sharma and V.B. Chandrasekhar.

Chopra, in fact, has opened in all eight Tests he has played. He was dropped in Rawalpindi to facilitate Sourav's return, after having missed the first two Tests owing to a back injury.

The openers in that Test were Sehwag and, very surprisingly, Parthiv Patel.

Sehwag has opened in the last 18 Tests, the sequence beginning in England (summer of 2002). In one innings of the Hamilton Test, however, he came down the order with Parthiv opening in Sanjay Bangar's company.

Incidentally, Yuvraj can only play in the forthcoming first Test (Bangalore) if Sachin Tendulkar isn't fit.

While the batting line-up is predictable, Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan are the first-choice seamers. Again, predictably, there won't be a debate over Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh's presence in the XI.

The Team India XV, it may be recalled, has been named for the first two Tests ' the second being in Chennai.

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