Raina cracks into Test squad

Suresh Raina has been picked in the Indian squad for the Test series against West Indies, following impressive ODI performances of late. Also included in the side are Ramesh Powar, the Mumbai off-spinner, VRV Singh, the Punjab fast bowler and Dinesh Karthik, the Tamil Nadu wicket-keeper.

With Sachin Tendulkar out of the series, it is most likely that Raina, who was earlier selected for Tests against England but couldn’t make it to the XI, will get his first Test cap on the tour. Powar, who has been picked up as the third spinner in the squad at the expense of Ajit Agarkar, might not be so lucky though.

Kiran More, the chairman of selectors, asserted the decision to exclude Agarkar. :We saw the statistics and Agarkar has not been performing as a Test player”, he said. “We also saw the situation on a green top in Karachi where three other fast bowlers were looked in before him. He is bowling well now (in ODIs) and we are happy for him.”

More was also excited about VRV Singh’s inclusion, especially after the faster’s exceptional domestic performances. “He has done very well in domestic cricket. He always had potential. He did well in the Abu Dhabi tournament but not in the final,” he said. “We just can’t count out any player (based on one bad performance). Somebody gets three ducks we can’t say he is a bad player. We always have to back them up as they have potential.”

Those who were expected to make it but missed out, apart from Agarkar, are RP Singh and Robin Uthappa. The selectors have decided to go in with just the two specialist openers in Virendar Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni to be called up to open in case either of the two regulars are unable to play for any reason.

Indian squad:
Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid (captain), VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mohammad Kaif, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (reserve wicket-keeper), Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, VRV Singh

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