Mithun Manhas, less than two weeks away from his 27th birthday, has been called up to play in the Challenger Series after VVS Laxman pulled out of the four-match series with a strained hamstring on the eve of the first game.

Dilip Vengsarkar, the newly appointed chairman of the national selection committee, confirmed that Manhas would be flying in to Chennai. However, Manhas will be part of the India Blue squad while Wasim Jaffer will move from India Blue to Green to fill Laxman's place. Jaffer will now play under Mohammad Kaif, who is captain of the India Green team that play their first match on Monday against India Blue.

Manhas, who made his debut for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy in the 1997-98 season, had tremendous success in domestic competitions as an attacking middle-order batsman. In 77 List-A matches he has scored more than 2500 runs at an average of just over 50.

In the last season Manhas did especially well, scoring 288 runs from five Ranji one-dayers, at an average of 96 and a strike rate of more than 100. His two centuries played a vital role in North Zone winning the Deodhar Trophy in 2005-06. He was also Delhi's highest run-scorer in the Ranji first-class tournament with 369 runs at an average of 36.90.