Powar and Raina included in Test squad
Ramesh Powar and Suresh Raina have been picked for the Test series in West Indies after their impressive performances in one-day internationals. VRV Singh, the Punjab fast bowler, and Dinesh Karthik, the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper, have also been included in the squad.
India opted to go for the third spinner in Powar and left out Ajit Agarkar and RP Singh. Robin Uthappa was also omitted as the selectors decided against the reserve opener for Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer, who passed a fitness Test on Tuesday. Kiran More, the chairman of selectors, said that they had Mahendra Singh Dhoni to fill the opener's slot if needed.
More defended Agarkar's exclusion, based on his poor record in Tests but praised his performance in the three ODIs so far. " We saw the statistics and Agarkar has not been performing as a Test player", he said. "We also saw the situation on a green top in Karachi where three other fast bowlers were looked in before him. He is bowling well now [in ODIs] and we are happy for him." Agarkar has been India's best bowler in the first three ODIs, with six wickets at an average of 15.83 and economy of 3.27 per over. However, Agarkar has never been a regular in the Test side and in his last complete series, against Sri Lanka in December 2005, he took only three wickets at a a strike rate of 118. He was dropped for the last two Tests against Pakistan in January, and the series against England in March.
On VRV Singh making his first Test tour, More said, "He has done very well in domestic cricket. He always had potential. He did well in the Abu Dhabi tournament but not in the final. We just can't count out any player [based on one bad performance]. Somebody gets three ducks we can't say he is a bad player. We always have to back them up as they have potential."
Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid (capt), VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mohammad Kaif, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, VRV Singh