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Team may seek Bangar's services

December 15, 2003 19:37 IST

The Indian cricket team is keen to avail the services of utility player Sanjay Bangar before the third cricket Test against Australia, beginning in Melbourne on December 26.

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Though no such request has yet been made to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the team management is likely to do so once the Adelaide Test is over.

According to team sources, the Indians suddenly sense a chance to create history after their brilliant performance thus far on the tour and want to utilise their bowling resources better.

India, who held the upper hand in the first Test in Brisbane and have a chance to win the second Test in Adelaide tomorrow, have been a bit handicapped in the bowling department with Harbhajan Singh as good as out of the tour and Zaheer Khan missing the second Test because of a hamstring injury.

It has limited India's bowling resources and with back-to-back Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, the team wants to put its best foot forward in a bid to do the near impossible.

India currently have two spinners in Anil Kumble and Murali Kartik and medium-pacers in Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra and Ajit Agarkar, but because of the fear of sudden injury to any of them, the team management is contemplating another back-up, preferably a bowler-cum-batsman like Bangar.

The Indians also realise that they need to go in with five bowlers in order to put further pressure on the Aussies and Bangar is seen as a cricketer who can be useful with this strategy.

His presence could allow the team to use him as an opener as well as a stock, run-restricting bowler so that the fast bowlers can come in fresh after each spell.

The Indian team management is thinking the strategy could also allow them to play two spinners in Sydney, which offers turn.

This new line of thinking marks a turnaround in the team management's attitude towards Bangar, who was hardly recommended in any of the selection committee meetings following the World Cup, where he was not selected for any game.

Bangar was not available for comment but a selector, on condition of anonymity, said it could only happen if Harbhajan is put on plane to India.

"I don't think the Board would be keen to send any additional member," said the selector. "Only if one of the members from the touring party is put on plane could Bangar be considered," he added.

Harbhajan is due to meet doctor Greg Hoy in Melbourne on Wednesday and only then will it become clear whether surgery would be required on his finger.

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