Kolkata: The national selectors on Saturday sprung a surprise by naming young Gujarat wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel in the England bound Test squad and ignored pace spearhead Javagal Srinath for the Limited Overs triangular series beginning from June 27.
Ace leg spinner Anil Kumble, who had recovered fully from the jaw injury, has also been included in place of Murali Karthik in both the Test and One-day teams announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Niranjan Shah. While the selectors have made just one change from the One-day team that did duty in the West Indies with Kumble returning in place of Kartik, the 16-member Test team has also remained more or less unchanged with young Patel replacing wicket-keeper batsman Deep Dasgupta.
Javagal Srinath, who recently announced his decision to retire from Test cricket and concentrate on next year's World Cup, has not been included in the One-day team with the selectors expressing satisfaction with the current bunch of pacemen. The five national selectors and captain Saurav Ganguly were closeted for nearly three hours to finalise the teams for both the triangular and Test series during the 83-day tour of England. Niranjan Shah was also present at the meeting. Barring the selection of wicket- keeper Parthiv Patel, who did reasonably well as the captain of the Indian team in the Junior World Cup in New Zealand, there were no other surprises in the Test squad with the selectors preferring to continue with some of the players who failed in the West Indies.
Announcing the teams at a press conference, Shah did not elaborate much on Srinath's omission, but said that the selectors felt that the current bunch of pacemen were quite capable. Selection committee chairman Chandu Borde did not turn up at the press conference. "The selectors felt that these boys (pacemen) were doing quite well at the moment and did not want to disturb the combination," Shah said. Asked whether Rahul Dravid would continue to keep wickets in the shorter version of the game, Shah said, "Dravid had kept wickets in the West Indies. He might continue to do so, but it will be a decision of the team management. "As always, it is the team management which will decide the playing eleven depending on the conditions. The selectors have chosen the best available squad," he said.
Despite failing miserably in the Test series in the Caribbean, diminutive opener Shiv Sundar Das has been retained in the Test squad and was expected to partner Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer. The Test team has just two specialist openers and Shah indicated that Sanjay Bangar could be used as the third opener if required. Srinath's decision to retire from Test cricket has paved the way for Ajit Agarkar to stage a comeback in the team for the longer version of the game. Agarkar was not selected in the Test team during the series against West Indies. Anil Kumble, who had to abandon the West Indies tour prematurely because of a jaw injury, has found his way back in both the Test and One-day teams having recovered completely from the injury. Shah said that the One-day squad would leave for England in the early hours of June 18.