Rookie Gagandeep Singh gets national call-up

Published: Thursday, December 2, 2004, 15:06 [IST]
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Kolkata:Punjab speedster Gagandeep Singh was today rewarded for his consistent performance in domestic circuit with a berth in the 15-member Indian Test squad for the two-Test series against Bangladesh starting later this month.

The 23-year-old right-arm seamer, the only new face in the squad, got the nod in place of Ashish Nehra who was ruled out because of an abdominal strain.

Bengal paceman S S Paul, who was picked in the Test squad for the recent series against Australia, was the only other uncapped player in the squad announced by Cricket Board Secretary S K Nair after a meeting of the national selectors here.

The selectors opted to go on the 22-day tour with three specialist spinners in Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Murali Kartik and also made no changes in the batting line-up.

"The physio (Andrew Leipus) submitted a report that Nehra had suffered an abdominal strain while bowling in the nets and would not be available for the first Test, so the selectors decided not to consider him for the Test series," Nair said.

Paceman Laxmipathy Balaji was alos not considered as he had not submitted his fitness report, he said.

Team: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Mohd Kaif, S S Paul, Gagandeep Singh, Dinesh Kaarthick, Murali Kartik, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan.

Nair said the squad for the three-match one-day series against Bangladesh would be announced tomorrow. Young wicketkeeper Dinesh Kaarthick, who had replaced Parthiv Patel for the series against South Africa, and Delhi opener Gautam Gambhir retained their places by virtue of their performances in the ongoing Test series.

Gagandeep, who has had an impressive season in the Ranji Trophy competition, has claimed 154 first class wickets from 34 matches at an average of 19.72. His best figures are six for 14.

He took three wickets for 88 to help Punjab thrash Baroda by 110 runs in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match only last week.

The Indian team embarks on December 7 for Dhaka where the first Test begins on December 9. The second match would be played in Chittagong from December 16 to 20.

The one-day series will be played on December 23 (Chittagong), December 26 and December 29 (both at Dhaka).

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