MUMBAI: Unless the national selection committee intends to go out of its way and experiment, which again has not quite been their style of working
It doesn’t get easier for the captain of a troubled team and the selectors either when all major contenders for a Test berth ahead of a series are completely fit. That is exactly the case now with India where Zaheer Khan is back in good shape having played a Ranji Trophy match, Yuvraj Singh has shown some form and the speculation surrounding the fitness of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag has remained just that and nothing more.
The last squad that did duty in New Zealand of 16 members is normally pruned to 14 for the home series. Which means, reserve opener Murli Vijay and medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, picked as a back-up for the Kiwi tour, are likely to be omitted. Tamil Nadu medium-pacer Laxmipathy Balaji, who made a comeback during the tour of New Zealand but didn’t play a single Test may make way for Ashish Nehra. The Delhi left-arm pacer, who has been impressive since making a comeback to the limited overs squad five months ago, will in all probability be making a return to Test cricket after five years. Nehra last played at Test match against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 2004.
Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra will be the two full-time spinners with Sehwag and Yuvraj as part-time options while Zaheer will have the services of Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel when Dhoni looks for a three-pronged pace attack.
MS Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Amit Mishra, Ashish Nehra.
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