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Selectors repose faith in Kumble

Principal Correspondent

— Photo: AFP

Dilip Vengsarkar arrives for the meeting.

Bangalore: The selection of the Indian squad for the four Tests in Australia has been deferred to December 12. The selection committee which met under the chairmanship of Dilip Vengsarkar here late on Wednesday evening, was originally scheduled to select the Test squad for the Australian tour that commences with a tour match against Victoria at Melbourne from December 20.

However, the selectors after selecting the team for the third Test against Pakistan and retaining Anil Kumble as captain for the forthcoming Test series in Australia, opted for a 24-member probables list from which the 16-member Test squad will be selected for the Australian tour. Virender Sehwag is a notable omission.

The BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said: “Because of injuries to many fast bowlers, the selectors have deferred the selection of the final 16 for the Australian tour to the 12th of this month. The selection meeting will be held in Bangalore. The selectors have selected 24 probables for the Australian tour and after seeing the final fitness report, the 16-member Test squad will be selected,” Shah said.

Injury woes

Meanwhile, the injury woes afflicting Indian fast bowlers continue and the injured trio of Zaheer Khan, reportedly suffering from a heel injury, Munaf Patel and R.P. Singh, have been omitted from the squad for the third Test against Pakistan, commencing at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday. Irfan Pathan, V.R.V. Singh and Ishant Sharma have been drafted in as replacements and the three seamers are expected to join the squad on Thursday while Zaheer, Munaf and R.P. Singh will return home.

Vengsarkar arrives

Earlier, selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar arrived for the selection meeting at 5.30 p.m., setting to rest speculation concerning his attendance following his recent rift with BCCI officials. While the media kept waiting, skipper Anil Kumble left for a function at 6.30 p.m. and much later, Niranjan Shah emerged with a sheet in hand from which he read the names of the selected players. Shah refused, however, to answer specific questions on injured fast bowlers.

The team (for third Test against Pakistan): Anil Kumble (captain), M.S. Dhoni (vice-captain), Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma and V.R.V. Singh.

The probables for the Australian tour’s Test squad: Anil Kumble, M.S. Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, R.P. Singh, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, V.R.V. Singh, Ranadeb Bose, Irfan Pathan, Pankaj Singh, Murali Kartik, Piyush Chawla, Ajit Agarkar, Parthiv Patel and Akash Chopra.

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