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Zaheer out, Bangar in for ODIs

December 28, 2003 18:40 IST
Last Updated: December 29, 2003 17:15 IST

Injured seamer Zaheer Khan was on Sunday left out while all-rounder Sanjay Bangar earned a recall to the 16-member Indian one-day side for the upcoming triangular tournament in Australia.

With two main strike bowlers -- Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh -- ruled out due to injury, rookie pacers Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy Balaji have been retained in the squad for the tournament, beginning at Melbourne on January 9, Board of Control for Cricket secretary S K Nair announced.

The selection committee headed by Syed Kirmani finalised the team after more than two hours of deliberation during which they also took the opinion of coach John Wright and skipper Sourav Ganguly in Australia through teleconferencing.

Nair said Zaheer Khan has been left out after a report from team physio Andrew Leipus ruled him out of action for 4 to 6 weeks due to a hamstring injury.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has already been ruled out of the current Test series and tri-series due to an index finger injury.

Both Pathan and Balaji are now doing duty for the Test side Down Under.

Openers Akash Chopra and Sadagoppan Ramesh and wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta will return from Australia after the Test series.

The rest of the team was almost the same that did duty in the tri-series at home last month with Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif and Hemang Badani returning to the side for the one-dayers.

Nair said though not included in the team, both Zaheer and Harbhajan would stay back in Australia to remain under the observation of Leipus.

"Zaheer will stay on in Melbourne to undergo his ligamentation process. Harbhajan has also been allowed to stay back for a few weeks to undergo rehabilitation under Leipus' guidance," Nair said.

He said the committee picked up a 16-member squad in view of the long span of the tournament.

Asked about the inclusion of Kaif, who sustained a left thumb injury here on November 26, the BCCI official said, "as per orthopaedic report and the opinion of the team physio, he is expected to be fit within a week."

The middle-order batsman, now playing for India A in the Asian A teams tournament here, suffered the injury during a league match against Sri Lanka and was not likely to play in the final on December 30.

The meeting, attended by all the members of the selection committee, also discussed a few other names like India 'A' opener Gautam Gambhir and pacer Amit Bhandari, who put up a good performance in the ongoing Kenstar Cup, he said.

Kaif, Yuvraj, Badani and Bangar are four members of the 'A' team to find berths in the squad for the tri-series.

Squad: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid (vice captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, V V S Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Parthiv Patel, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra, L Balaji, Sanjay Bangar and Hemang Badani.

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