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Harbhajan ends two-year India Test squad exile

Wed, May 20, 2015, 08:19 PM
Mumbai, May 20 : Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was on Wednesday recalled to India's Test squad after a gap of more than two years for the lone Test against Bangladesh next month.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) All-India Senior Selection Committee met here to pick the Indian teams for the lone Test and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) against Bangladesh to be played from June 10 to 24.

Meanwhile, pacer Mohammad Shami has been ruled out due to an injured knee and has been replaced with Mumbai's Dhawal Kulkarni in the ODI squad. Kulkarni has played four ODIs so far and has picked up eight wickets.

Harbhajan last played a Test in March 2013 against Australia. The 34-year-old has represented India in 101 Tests and is 10th in the list of highest wicket-takers with 413 scalps.

"Harbhajan's name was discussed in our earlier meetings also. Particularly regarding this Bangladesh tour, the selection committee has selected Harbhajan keeping in mind the batting strength of Bangladesh, which has a number of left-handed batsmen. This issue has also been discussed by Test skipper Virat Kohli and this decision was taken," chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil said.

Belying speculations, the committee selected a full-strength squad with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni leading the ODI side and Virat Kohli captaining the Test squad.

Patil also said that batsman Yuvraj Singh's name was not discussed in the meeting.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was dropped from the Test squad. He has played 12 Tests, scoring 364 runs and has taken 45 wickets.

"We discussed not only Jadeja but many others also. We have selected the best possible spinners for the Tests. When we sit for selection, we look at where the team is touring, against whom and the opponents' strengths and on the basis of that selection is done," Patil said.

"Let us all focus on this Bangladesh tour. For the tour, the selection committee and captain felt this is the best combination we can go with."

This will be India's first international series after the World Cup.

Asked about the selection of India's new coach, following the departure of Duncan Fletcher, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said, "We are in the process of shortlisting the names of coaches who are available for the Indian cricket team. Once that process is done, we will be in a position to take a final call. This is also the same with the support staff."

Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma.

ODI squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Stuart Binny, Dhawal Kulkarni.
Agency: IANS

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