Pujara retains place, Yuvraj misses out again

Young middle-order batsman Cheteswar Pujara retained his spot in the Test team while there was no place for Yuvraj Singh when the 15-man squad for the three-Test series against New Zealand at home, starting in Ahmedabad from November 4, was named on Monday. Those who missed out on the second Test against Australia in Bangalore, namely left handed opener Gautam Gambhir, paceman Ishant Sharma and VVS Laxman, were included in the squad announced on Monday.

Gambhir and Ishant, both of whom struggled with knee injuries, and Laxman who suffered with back spasms are all likely to feature in the playing XI, though Murali Vijay, who made a century in Bangalore and Pujara were among the runs. Medium-pacer S Sreesanth and leg-spinner Amit Mishra are also part of the squad.

The team, to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has three fast bowlers in Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth and Ishant and three specialist spinners comprising Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha. The Indian batting order looks formidable as it has stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag, who have all been in fine nick in recent times.

"The team has performed extremely well against the Australians in both the Tests and One-day series, particularly the Bangalore Test. Our junior players have gelled well in the middle-order with the seniors. Our bowlers have done a remarkable job.

Going by this, we have picked the team for all the three Tests. I am confident that our players will continue their victory march," BCCI chief selector Kris Srikkanth told reporters here.

"Our bench strength has come good and it was there for all to witness. This is a good sign for Indian cricket," Srikkanth said adding the team for the one-day series will be picked later.

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