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Sehwag in Test squad for Australia
Harish Kotian in Bangalore | December 12, 2007 19:07 IST
Last Updated: December 12, 2007 19:22 IST
Virender Sehwag [Images] is the surprise inclusion in the Indian squad for the four-Test series against Australia, starting later this month.
The 29-year-old Delhi opener was not among the 24 probables named for the tour, but made his way into the team after Gautam Gambhir [Images] was ruled out because of a sore shoulder.
"According to a report from [physio] John Gloser, Gautam Gambhir has a sore shoulder and requires a three-week rest," Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Niranjan Shah said in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Sehwag last played a Test, against South Africa in Cape Town, in January before being dropped for the tours of Bangladesh and England [Images]. He hasn't shown good form in the Ranji Trophy also and has just 66 runs from three matches, at an average of 13.20, to his credit.
Perhaps, his record in Australia clinched him a berth. On India's last tour in 2003-04, the opener scored 464 runs in four matches, at an average of 58, including a smashing 195 in the Melbourne Test.
Sehwag's Delhi teammate Akash Chopra, who was among the probables, though, will consider himself unlucky not to be picked ahead of Sehwag. He is in great form this season and amassed 568 in five matches at an average of 63.11, including two centuries and as many fifties.
The other surprise inclusion is 22-year-old Rajasthan pacer Pankaj Singh. The selectors felt Munaf Patel [Images] needs to prove his fitness in domestic matches.
"Munaf Patel is advised more match practice before the selectors can consider him for international matches. So he will be playing in the Ranji Trophy," Shah added.
Pankaj has shown good form in the Ranji Trophy this season, claiming 26 wickets in five matches, at an average of 23.96. He is the second highest wicket-taker in the championship, behind Himachal Pradesh's Ashok Thakur, who has taken 28 wickets.
Youngster Ishant Sharma also made it to the squad following his impressive spell of five for 118 in the first innings of the Test.
Captain Anil Kumble [Images] assured media persons that VVS Laxman, who suffered a bruise after taking a blow on his elbow while trying to evade a quick bouncer from Shoaib Akhtar [Images] in India's second innings, is alright.
"There is no crack, just a bruise and he should be fine," Kumble confirmed.
Team: Anil Kumble (captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid [Images], VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh [Images], Sourav Ganguly [Images], Harbhajan Singh [Images], Zaheer Khan, R P Singh, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan [Images], Wasim Jaffer [Images], Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthick, Pankaj Singh.