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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Patel, Chopra, Yuvraj axed; Pathan still unfit

Patel, Chopra, Yuvraj axed; Pathan still unfit

Last updated on: October 30, 2004 19:10 IST

Parthiv Patel, Akash Chopra, Yuvraj Singh and Ajit Agarkar were shown the door as India included four new faces in the team for the fourth and final Test against Australia, starting in Mumbai on November 3.

The new faces are: Gautam Gambhir, Dheeraj Jadhav, Shib Shankar Paul and Dinesh Karthik. Of the four, Gambhir and Karthik have played in One-Day Internationals.

The team was announced after a two-hour meeting of the selection committee in Nagpur on Saturday afternoon. Coach John Wright and captain Sourav Ganguly were also present at the meeting.

Left-arm fast bowler Irfan Pathan, who played in the first two Tests but had to sit out of the third because of a side strain, was not included in the team as he is yet to recover from the injury.

Ganguly, who missed the third Test because of a hip injury, was named as the 15th member of the squad, but he will have to prove his fitness on November 1, Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary S K Nair said, while announcing the team.

"With a long season ahead we thought it would be better not to call in Pathan when he is not hundred per cent fit," explained Nair.

Chopra and Yuvraj made way for Gambhir and Jadhav, who both performed well for the India 'A' team on the tours of Kenya and Zimbabwe recently.

"Gambhir will be the first preference to open, but Dheeraj Jadhav has also got a chance," said Nair, adding, "Akash Chopra has been dropped because he couldn't live up to expectations."

Parthiv's exclusion was on the cards after his poor showing behind the stumps continued even in the just-concluded third Test, which India lost by 342 runs to hand Australia an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the four-Test series.

"In the last selection meeting it was felt by the committee that he should be given one more chance due to his past records and his batting record. The selectors were not satisfied with his performance and thought it was ideal to find a new 'keeper for this match. M S Dhoni's name was also discussed," he said.

In the bowling department, West Bengal's Paul replaced Agarkar. Nair informed that Agarkar was dropped due to "cricketing reasons".

He said there was discussion about VVS Laxman's form and Yuvraj Singh, as a middle-order batsman.

"We thought that Laxman should be given a chance. He is a man with a proven record in Test matches and has especially done well against Australia. We are hoping that he bats well in the match in Mumbai."

Nair said there was much discussion on the team's failure in the series, and since a batting coach has also been drafted into the side there should be no excuse for the continued non-performance of the batsmen.

"The team failed to put up a sizeable first innings score most of the time and the selection committee tried to take stock of things," he added.

He was evasive while talking about the confusion that prevailed on day 1 of the third Test, when the media was kept in the dark about Ganguly not being included in the playing eleven because of an injury.

"The BCCI has appointed a media manager for every venue and if they did not co-operate here we are sorry. Whatever mistakes we did here we welcome the feedback from the press. We will see to it that they don't happen again. But the Board thinks it is not really important to have a media manager in the home series," he said.

The squad:
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammad Kaif, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, SS Paul, V V S Laxman and Dheeraj Jadhav.

Also read:
-
The Final Frontier crumbles
- Statistical highlights: Day 4
- We prepared from 2001: Gilchrist
- We couldn't execute our plans: Dravid
- Images from day 4
- Home series defeats for India
- Column: Missing in Action: Our 'Great' Batsmen!

Deepti Patwardhan in Nagpur