India-Australia series: Time runs out for Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir

In the continued absence of Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma will lead a three-pronged seam attack that also has Ashok Dinda and Kumar. "Dinda was in the squad against England and it would have been unfair to drop him without giving him a game," said a selector. Parvinder Awana, who was in the squad for the fourth Test against England at Nagpur, was shown the door. Bhuvneshwar got the nod because most the committee felt his "swing will come in handy in the longer version as well."

The other change to the squad that played in Nagpur was Harbhajan Singh, who came in for Piyush Chawla. Harbhajan had a moderate Ranji season after being dropped from the Test team midway against England, picking up 16 wickets at 32.23. In the Irani Cup, he took three wickets in the first innings and two in the second. But his record against Australia clinched the deal. The 32-year-old off-spinner has 81 wickets in 12 Tests against the Aussies and if selected in the playing eleven, will play his 100th Test.

Ravindra Jadeja, who made his Test debut in Nagpur, is the only all-rounder, while Ajinkya Rahane has been retained as a middle-order batsman who is an option for the No. 6 slot. The squad is for the first Test, which starts on February 22 at Chennai, and the second at Hyderabad.

squad: MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda

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