Ganguly left out of one-day squad

Sourav Ganguly has been left out of India's 15-man one-day side for the forthcoming five matches against Pakistan beginning at Peshawar on February 6.

Ganguly, previously dropped from the one-day side for back-to-back series against Sri Lanka and South Africa at home, will return to India with Parthiv Patel, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble and Wasim Jaffer after the ongoing third Test at Karachi. Zaheer Khan, the left-hand fast bowler, has been included in the squad announced by the Indian board today, the only change to the side that drew 2-2 with South Africa in November.

Commenting on Ganguly's exclusion, Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, said that it was a collective decision to retain a winning combination in the shorter version of the game. "We decided to retain the combination that played against Sri Lanka and South Africa. This is the best team that we have chosen," he told reporters in Mumbai today while conceding that Ganguly's name was discussed in the selection meeting.

Shah also justified the presence of five fast bowlers - Zaheer, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Rudra Pratap Singh, and Sreesanth - by saying that it was a move based on the conditions. "We decided to go in with five fast bowlers considering the wickets in Pakistan," he said. He maintained that John Gloster, the team physio, had cleared Sreesanth rom any injury concerns but added that "VRV [Singh] and [Ashish] Nehra were discussed but the duo was ruled out due to fitness concerns." Shah was hesitant to comment on whether the selectors' decision signified the end of the one-day road for Ganguly, Laxman and Kumble.

India play five one-day internationals against Pakistan. Following the opener at Peshawar, the venues selected are Rawalpindi (Feb 11), Lahore (Feb 13), Multan (Feb 16) and Karachi (Feb 19).

Indian ODI Squad: Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, R P Singh, Murali Kartik, Harbhajan Singh, S Sreesanth.