February 16, 2002

Indian squad for Zimbabwe series announced

The Indian selectors announced today a squad that will take on Zimbabwe in the two-Test series beginning shortly. Despite recalling stumper MSK Prasad for the Board President's XI game, the national selectors thought it best that they stick with Deep Dasgupta, who has performed creditably with the bat if not behind the stumps in the longer version of the game.

Also back in the team are speedster Tinu Yohannan, overlooked for the one-dayers against England and middle-order bat Rahul Dravid who was out due to injury. Importantly, there is no place in the squad for Delhi southpaw Gautam Gambhir, who made a spirited 218 against Zimbabwe in the tour match that is under way.

Offie Sarandeep Singh and all-rounder Sanjay Bangar get a reprise, being named in the squad despite widespread speculation that neither had done enough to warrant selection.

VVS Laxman, who was dropped from the squad that played the one-dayers against England in favour of Mohammad Kaif, makes his way back into the squad. His place in the Test side was never in doubt, despite rumours that Kaif had done enough to replace him.

Zaheer Khan, who has done wonders for state side Baroda since being relieved of national duties, has been called up to reinforce the bench. The Baroda left-arm seamer was lethal in domestic cricket, taking his state side to the final of the domestic competition with a 10-wicket performance that impressed more than one selector.

The squad: Saurav Ganguly (c), Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, SS Das, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Sarandeep Singh, Deep Dasgupta, Sanjay Bangar and Tinu Yohanan.