March 21, 2002

Dinesh Mongia, Ratra, Jaffer named in squad for West Indies

Staff Reporter

Meeting in Mumbai, the national selectors announced on Thursday a 16-member Test squad for the tour of the West Indies in April-June. The tour will consist of five Tests and five one-day internationals.

Prominent among the new faces is Dinesh Mongia, who recently got the Man of the Series award in the five-match one-day series against Zimbabwe. Also joining Mongia from that one-day squad is Ajay Ratra, who has been selected as wicket-keeper.

It is worthwhile to note that the selectors have gone in for two wicket-keepers; Deep Dasgupta, whose batting has not concealed the fact that his stump-work is somewhat awry, has also been picked for the tour.

If his wicket-keeping deteriorates further during the tour, his opening slot may fall to Wasim Jaffer, who is in the midst of a fine run of form in the Duleep Trophy. Jaffer, who made his Test debut against South Africa in 1999-00, played only the two Tests of that series before being dropped.

Only two spinners in Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble have been picked. The pace attack consists of Javagal Srinath, Tinu Yohannan, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra, with all-rounder Sanjay Bangar chipping in with his medium-pace.

Mongia's elevation to the Test level will mean that he will be unavailable to captain the India 'A' side in South Africa. Yuvraj Singh will take his place in the side, while Jacob Martin, previously named vice-captain, will lead the squad in Mongia's absence.

Squad to the West Indies:

Sourav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid (vice-captain), Shiv Sunder Das, Deep Dasgupta (wicket-keeper), Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Dinesh Mongia, Ajay Ratra (wicket-keeper), Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Tinu Yohannan, Sanjay Bangar