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Laxman, Kumble dropped from ODI squad
August 13, 2005 18:14 IST
Last Updated: August 13, 2005 19:32 IST
The national cricket selectors wielded the axe on ageing non-performers in limited overs games like Anil Kumble and V V S Laxman, and laid emphasis on youth while naming the 15-member Indian squad for the upcoming triangular series in Zimbabwe.
The selection panel, headed by Kiran More, which met in Mumbai on Saturday along with national coach Greg Chappell and captain Sourav Ganguly, also omitted medium pacers Laxmipathi Balaji and Zaheer Khan for the event beginning on August 24.
But all four players, who were members of the ODI squad to Sri Lanka recently, were included in the team for the two-Test series to follow from September 13 against Zimbabwe along with Sachin Tendulkar, subject to his becoming fit by that time, wicketkeeper Dinesh Kaarthick and opener Gautam Gambhir.
Laying emphasis on fit and young players, the selectors included Uttar Pradesh's 19-year-old left-arm pace bowler Rudra Pratap Singh in the one-day squad to take on New Zealand and hosts Zimbabwe while retaining two other young batsmen who toured Lanka -- UP's Suresh Raina and Andhra's Venugopal Rao.
Right-arm pacer Ajit Agarkar and left-arm spinner Murali Kartik were recalled to the one-day squad after missing the series in Lanka.
Announcing the two teams, BCCI secretary S K Nair said that Tendulkar, recuperating after undergoing an elbow surgery in May last at London, "is progressing well".
"Tendulkar is expected to be fit by the middle of September. His fitness would be assessed before the tri-series final [September 6] and in case he's found not fit to play, a replacement would be named."
"The selectors discussed the performance of the Indian team in the Sri Lanka series before choosing the teams for Zimbabwe. They were apprised of the fitness status of all the players, including Sachin Tendulkar, by Indian team physio John Gloster," Nair said.
"Tendulkar is progressing well. Gloster has met him and got the medical reports. The selectors are hoping that he would be fit for the Test series and have chosen him subject to his becoming fit by that time," Nair said.
The BCCI secretary said that Pathan, who suffered a shoulder injury in the tri-series final against Lanka last Tuesday, is undergoing treatment and, according to Gloster, should be fit in time for the tri-nation event in Zimbabwe.
Asked about Zaheer, he said, "Zaheer is fit. He's going to play in the three-match Asia XI v Africa XI series [to be held between August 17 and 21]."
The ODI team is scheduled to leave for Zimbabwe from Mumbai on August 22 and their first match in the series is slated on August 26 against New Zealand.
"The team would play a warm-up tie on August 24," Nair said.
The players who would be returning after the tri-series are Suresh Raina, Venugopal Rao, M S Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar, Rudra Pratap Singh, J P Yadav and Murali Kartik.
"Sachin Tendulkar [if found fit], Laxman, Dinesh Kaarthick, Anil Kumble, Laxmipathi Balaji, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir would take their places for the Test series. They are expected to leave for Zimbabwe on September 4 or 5," Nair said.
What the selectors have done while naming the ODI team, in effect, is to bring down the average age of players comprising it, to improve the overall fielding, with an eye on the 2007 World Cup.
The two experienced bowlers who have been recalled -- 27-year-old Agarkar and 28-year-old Murali Kartik -- both fit into this overall strategy of laying emphasis on fitter and younger players.
Agarkar, whose omission from the Lanka squad caused a furore even in the Maharashtra Assembly, returns to the squad after playing his last match against Pakistan in Delhi in April.
Agarkar, who was the fastest in the world in reaching 50 ODI wickets, has taken 206 wickets in 135 ODIs and has three half-centuries to his credit in his overall run tally of 1075.
Murali Kartik has been in and out of the Indian squad and has played in only 18 ODIs since making his debut against Zimbabwe at Hyderabad in 2001-02. His last ODI was against Pakistan at Ahmedabad - the fourth of the six-match series in April.
ODI squad: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid (vice-captain), Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Venugopal Rao, M S Dhoni (w/k), Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, R P Singh and J P Yadav.
Test squad: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid (vice-captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar (subject to fitness), V V S Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Dinesh Kaarthick (w/k), Anil Kumble, L Balaji, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra.