Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Kumble, Agarkar named in Test squad

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 19:55 [IST]
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New Delhi:Ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble and seamer Ajit Agarkar were on Monday included in the 15-member Indian squad for the upcoming three-Test series against Pakistan starting in Multan on March 28.

Both Agarkar and Kumble, who were part of the Indian team in Australia but not picked for the ongoing One-day series due to injuries, made it to the side after they submitted theirfitness certificates.

Opener Aakash Chopra was also picked for the series while the other injured bowler Harbhajan Singh was ruled out, as he is yet to recover fully, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary S K Nair announced in New Delhi on Monday.

Three players -- Mohd Kaif, who shaped India's victory in the crucial One-dayer on Sunday, Hemang Badani and Amit Bhandari -- will return home after the final match of the One-day series on Wednesday, Nair said.

Rookie all-rounder Ramesh Powar and One-day specialist Yuvraj Singh were also named in the squad for the historic series.

Nair said some of the spinners were discussed including Sarandeep Singh, Kulamani Parida, Sairaj Bahutule and Sunil Joshi but it was eventually decided to stick to left-arm spinner Murali Kartik and Powar besides the veteran Kumble.

Yuvraj was rewarded for his good show in the Duleep Trophy final against East Zone, in which he hit two centuries, as well as in the current One-dayers, Nair said.

Yuvraj has played just one Test, at his home ground in Mohali against New Zealand. Nair said Agarkar and Kumble were match-fit and were cleared by the BCCI doctor Anant Joshi.

"Agarkar and Kumble are match-fit and have been practising with their respective associations. Dr Joshi has also cleared them," he said.

The BCCI secretary justified inclusion of just one wicketkeeper in the squad saying in case of injury to Parthiv Patel, a reserve keeper could always be flown in considering the proximity between the two countries.

On Nehra, he said the left-arm speedster "is not fit as of now and it will take some more time for him to recover fully." He said Harbhajan would take another one and a half months to recover from his finger injury.

The squad was finalised after the selectors, all of whom were present, had a tele-conference with the captain and coach John Wright, currently in Lahore. The players would fly in to Pakistan either on March 24 or 25 as Nair said the BCCI was keen to send them at the earliest for getting acclimatised to the conditions.

Squad: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, L Balaji, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Parthiv Patel, Ramesh Powar, Murali Kartik.

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