Sourav Ganguly has been included in the Indian squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka at Chennai. Ganguly, who was earlier stripped of the Test captaincy, was chosen in the team as a "batting allrounder" after a marathon meeting of the five-member selection committee in Chennai. Kiran More, the chairman of selectors, added that Zaheer Khan missed out because Ganguly would provide a bowling option.
"We thought we'll use him as a batting allrounder in the team," said More while addressing the press. "We discussed it for a long time and after deliberations we decided to have him in the team as an allrounder. It will give more comfort to the team balance." On his batting, More added that Ganguly had done well in Zimbabwe and scored a hundred in the Duleep Trophy too and that all the selectors were happy with his performance.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has replaced Dinesh Karthik as the wicketkeeper and More said that "Dhoni has taken us to a different level of cricket and he has a great future. He walks in at No.6 or No.7 and it's always a danger for the opposition." The selectors also retained VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble in the squad while Rudra Pratap Singh was rewarded for his consistent performances in the one-dayers.
Zaheer and Dheeraj Jadhav, who were part of the Test team in the last series against Zimbabwe, didn't find a place. "We discussed several names," said More. "RP Singh has done well in the one-dayers and we have found a few young bowlers who are promising. If they perform well in domestic cricket, they will definitely get opportunities. We missed out on Zaheer Khan also. He's performed outstandingly in domestic cricket and it was a tough call to leave him out. Also, we consider Ganguly as an allrounder, that's why Zaheer Khan has missed out."
The one-day squad for the remaining two matches against South Africa remained unchanged. The team for the last two Tests against Sri Lanka will be named after the first Test.
Squad for first Test against Sri Lanka
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Kaif, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Anil Kumble, RP Singh.
Squad for last two ODIs against South Africa
Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, S Sreesanth, RP Singh, Jai Prakash Yadav.