October 5, 2002

Amit Mishra in Indian squad to take on West Indies

The newly formed selection panel met today at Bangalore, home town of Chairman of Selectors Brijesh Patel and the venue of the ongoing three-day game between the Indian Board President's XI and the West Indians, to select the Indian squad for the forthcoming Test series.

Young Haryana leg-spinner Amit Mishra was the surprise inclusion in the squad, while stumper Ajay Ratra is a notable exclusion. Teenaged Parthiv Patel gets a chance to cement his place in the team in the absence of a second specialist wicket-keeper in the squad.

The selection committee, joined by Indian coach John Wright, selected a squad of 14 for the first and second Tests against the West Indies, due to be played at Mumbai and Chennai.

Senior cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble are fit to play, and they are joined by veteran medium-pacer Javagal Srinath who, after initially retiring from Test cricket, has reconsidered his decision.

The other selections to be automatically pencilled in were Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan. The Baroda left-arm seamer had an impressive Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka recently and will be a major part of India's plans for the series against West Indies.

Opening batsman Shiv Sunder Das, who has struggled with form in the recent past, gets another chance to establish his credentials and re-affirm his opener's slot in the Indian side in this home series.

All-rounder Sanjay Bangar, who bowls useful medium-pace and can bat at the top of the order, will also be a key member of the side in the event that Ashish Nehra does not regain fitness in time for the first Test, which starts on October 9.

Nehra sustained an injury in the Champions Trophy, splitting the webbing between two fingers of his bowling hand. He is said to be recovering quickly and will take a fitness test in the near future.

Squad: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Parthiv Patel (wicket-keeper), Virender Sehwag, Sanjay Bangar, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Shiv Sunder Das, Amit Mishra