Yuvraj edges out Kaif - FIRST TEST - Balaji, Nehra in squad THE XIV

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By The Telegraph Online in Mumbai
  • Published 27.02.05

Mumbai: The Indian cricket team was back to full strength against Pakistan with the selectors Saturday naming a 14-member squad that includes Sachin Tendulkar and pacers Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Ashish Nehra, all of whom had been nursing injuries.

The squad for the first Test in Mohali beginning on March 8 also includes Dinesh Karthik who got the nod for the wicketkeeper?s slot ahead of two close contenders ? Parthiv Patel and M. S. Dhoni.

Left-hander Yuvraj Singh edged out Mohammed Kaif and the fitness of Balaji and Nehra resulted in Ajit Agarkar being ignored.

[The Telegraph had reported on Saturday that Balaji and Nehra may both make it while Yuvraj was ahead of Kaif.]

Yuvraj was favoured keeping in mind his ?past performance against Pakistan?, BCCI secretary S. K. Nair said after announcing the squad here.

Kaif was widely tipped to be named after some impressive performances in the limited chances he got in the longer version of the game but Yuvraj was lucky to get the nod.

Nineteen-year-old Karthik, who played in India?s last Test outing against Bangladesh but was left out of the subsequent one-day series, was retained as the selectors ?felt he should be given one more chance?

?They (Parthiv and Dhoni) will get their chance as the series progresses,? Nair said.

Also included was off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was reported for throwing while bowling the doosra, the delivery which spins away from a right-handed batsman, during India?s series in Bangladesh in December.

The 24-year-old bowler travelled to Australia to work with biomechanist Bruce Elliott this month and the Indian board awaits his report.

?We have asked the biomechanist to send his report at the earliest,? Nair said. ?According to the ICC rules, he is permitted to play unless there is an adverse report.?

Earlier, Sourav Ganguly was named skipper for the entire three-Test and six-match one-day series.

Nair also backed Laxman?s inclusion. ?We considered Laxman?s past performances and his record against big teams in difficult conditions and we were convinced he should be given a place,? Nair said.

Laxman has always proved his worth with solid knocks in times of crises.



Openers: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir

Middle-order: Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman, Yuvraj Singh

Wicketkeeper: Dinesh Karthik

Spinners: Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh

Mediumpacers: Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ashish Nehra