England tour of India - Cricket: Agarkar, Zaheer back into team, Ratra replaces Dasgupta

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: India on Monday picked three spinners and a new wicket-keeper for the first half of the six-match Limited Overs series against England starting later this week.Off spinners Sarandeep Singh and Harbhajan Singh will join leggie Anil Kumble in the 14-man squad for the first three matches at Kolkata (January 19), Cuttack (January 22) and Chennai (January 25).The team for the last three One-dayers will be picked after the Chennai match against Nasser Hussain's tourists, chairman of selectors Chandu Borde said.Uncapped Haryana wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra displaces Deep Dasgupta, who scored runs in the last two Test series against South Africa and England, but kept wickets poorly.The Indian team, led by Saurav Ganguly, includes star batsman Venkat Sai Laxman, who missed the South Africa One-day series due to a knee injury, and new all-rounder Sanjay Bangar.The batting has been further strengthened by the return of left-hander Hemang Badani and middle-order batsman Dinesh Mongia. Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan is one of the three new-ball bowlers along with Javagal Srinath and Ajit Agarkar.Borde said three spinners had been picked to add variety to the attack."When we see the wicket for the matches, probably only two spinners will play," Borde said. "But we wanted to have more options."Borde justified Ratra's selection behind the stumps, saying the 22-year-old was a better choice for One-day cricket than Dasgupta. Borde said he was concerned about the batting form of Ganguly, but remained confident the Indian captain will come good in the series."Saurav is going through a rough patch, but he is too good a batsman to fail for long," said Borde, adding Ganguly will continue to open the batting with long-time partner Sachin Tendulkar.Indian squad: Saurav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Venkat Sai Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Hemang Badani, Dinesh Mongia, Anil Kumble, Ajay Ratra (wicket-keeper), Harbhajan Singh, Sarandeep Singh, Javagal Srinath, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan and Sanjay Bangar.Coach: John Wright

Copyright AFP 2001

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