India v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Ahmedabad November 6, 2005

Kaif back and VRV Singh included



Mohammad Kaif returns for the final two matches against Sri Lanka © Getty Images

Mohammad Kaif has been included in the Indian side for the final two games of the one-day series while VRV Singh, the fast bowler from Punjab, forced his way into the side as well. The selectors decided to choose them ahead of Venugopal Rao and Jai Prakash Yadav, the allrounder, for the rest of the series, which India have already clinched.

While not divulging details about the meeting, Kiran More, the chairman of selectors, said, "It was a tough call but Kaif is an outstanding cricketer and VRV Singh has done well in the Challenger Trophy. We are looking to create a healthy competition in the side and everyone has to perform."

He wasn't willing to reveal if the selectors had discussed Sourav Ganguly's future and added, "Any cricketer can make a comeback and we haven't ruled anyone out."

Kaif was laid low by a hamstring injury, which he sustained during the final of the Challenger Trophy in Mohali, and missed the initial part of the series. However, he proved his fitness while playing for Central Zone, against West, in the Duleep Trophy clash at Aurangabad and expectedly earned a recall.

For VRV Singh, who many regard is the fastest bowler in the country, it has been a rapid rise and a reward for some consistent performances. After a fine debut season last year, when he earned the praise of VVS Laxman and other domestic batting stars, he impressed in the Challenger Trophy at the start of this season.

The omission of Rao and Yadav is surprising from a few angles but More, as well and Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid earlier, insisted that they are trying to try out as many players as possible. However, as Ganguly has found out recently, both may find it tough to get back into the side if the replacements strike gold.

Squad for the last two games Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, S Sreesanth, RP Singh, VRV Singh

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo