Ishant, Pawar in final twelve ; VVS, Yuvi to sit out

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Dhaka:Rookie pacer Ishant Sharma and offie Rajesh Pawar have been included in the first twelve, while Yuvraj Singh and VVS Laxman will continue to warm the benches for the second Test against Bangladesh beginning here on Friday.

Announcing the final twelve, skipper Rahul Dravid said today that VRV Singh, who bowled poorly in the first Test at Chittagong, has been dropped while rookie spinner Rajesh Pawar or Ishant sharma looked like making it to the eleven.

Explaining the rationale for keeping Laxman and Yuvraj out, Dravid said there were five batsmen fighting for only three slots in the middle order.

''Laxman has been picked as a middle order batsman on this tour, after seeing the conditions, we were very keen on playing five bowlers. He is fighting for one of the three shots basically in the middle order.

''Between myself, Sachin, Sourav, Laxman and Yuvraj we are fighting for three slots, while its true that in some situations during some tours we do have four slots in the middle,'' he said.

Draivd said it was not an easy decision for him to keep them out. ''That's just the way it is. It's not an easy decision for me. It never has been and never will be.'' Dravid said the choice between Ishant Sahrma and Rajesh Pawar depended on whether the team manamgent decided to go for three pacers or spinners.

''We are keeping the option open of playing either the third spinner or a third quick, giving Ishant a game as well,'' he said.

On retaining opener Wasim Jaffer, Dravid said, ''It was decided not to change the opening combination after only one game. I think the selectors were quite clear in the team meeting that irrespective of what happened in the first game, we would not be changing our opening combination after just one game of a two-Test tour.''

Dravid was not ready to be involved in talks of Dinesh Karthck being a stop-gap opener or not when he said, ''It did not matter whether he was a specialist or not as long as he kept on scoring runs. I don't know what better way I can say this. Karthick is a wicket keeper. But, he is also playing as an opening batsman.

He is scoring runs. It does not matter whether you are a sepcilaist, regular or non-regular.'' ''In my ten years of playing for India, the guy who has been the most consistent and got runs as an opener for us over ten years is a middle order batsman. It does not matter who you are if you have the technique, guts, courage and willingness,'' he said.

On whether he himself could have opened, David said, ''The team was gaining a lot with him coming at number three, and the decision was also taken with an eye to the coming England tour next month.'' The Indian captain said he wanted to give opportunity to others to stake their claim. ''If he doesn't, then somebody else will be given an opportunity.

But you have to give people chances irrespective of what they are if they are showing the willingness and character to do it.'' Dravid said Anil Kumble was fit and bowled well in the practice session.

''He is shaping up well. He bowled well in the practice session today. He got through he practice session, so that's a very good sign.

''He has been a big factor for India for more than a decade now.

Definitely, Anil being fit and that we can use him in situations where we need wickets is going to help us.'' Dravid said the wicket looked firm with no grass on it, and the ball could keep lower as the match progressed.

''Compared to the earlier games, this wicket has more black soil than red soil. The wicket might spin a bit more as the game goes on.'' The Indian captain exuded confidence that his team would win if they played to their potential.

''We know that we can put them (Banlgadesh) under pressure. We know that in some situations they are prone to losing wickets quickly. I believe if we play up to our potential, we should win.

And our aim is to win,'' he said.

Asked if he was missing a real quick bowler in the team, Dravid replied, ''Anyone would like to have someone bowling at 150 to 155 km per hour. I think I am happy with what we have got.'' Dravid, however, conceded that the Indian bowlers could have put up a better show at some stages of the opening Test.

India Squad:

Rahul Dravid (capt), Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Kaarthick, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Anil Kumble, Rajesh Pawar, Ishant Sharma and Romesh Pawar.


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