Ganguly recalled for Pak tourSudeep Popat |
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has been named in the 16-man Test squad that will be touring Pakistan next month.
Ganguly, who was dropped for the third Test against Sri Lanka at Ahmedabad in the recently concluded series, replaces, quite surprisingly, Mohammad Kaif. Wasim Jaffer, who replaced him in the first place, gets to be on the tour.
The chief selector, Kiran More justified the decision, “Kaif has done well but he hasn’t had enough Test matches – he played after one-and-a-half years. We got Sourav back because we needed some experience for the tough tour. Pakistan team is well prepared and we needed to pick the best combination. Sourav has experience and runs behind him. If you see the recent record and statistics, he hasn’t done well but we needed his experience on this tour. We wanted to give youngsters a chance on the Sri Lanka tour. I am not saying he will play in the XI. That will be selected by the team management and one selector who will accompany the team on the tour.”
Why was Ganguly dropped for the Ahmedabad Test though, preventing him from gaining enough match practice if he was in the plans to be taken to Pakistan, was not answered when More was asked about it. Following the ex-captain’s exclusion from the said match, there was a huge fracas created politically, which the media suspects to be the cause for pressure on the selectors to include him.
Making his comeback too is Zaheer Khan, who after being dropped before the season started, has claimed his spot by performing extremely well in domestic competitions. Parthiv Patel returns as well, as a back up to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, tipping the likes of Dinesh Kaarthick, by showing considerable improvement over the course of the season.
India will play three Tests in Pakistan, followed by five ODIs, the team for which will be decided upon by the time for the conclusion of the Test series.
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Parthiv Patel (wicket-keeper), Rudra Pratap Singh, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble.