New Delhi: Team India has a taxing few months ahead with two back-to-back Test series. First, they clash against arch rivals Pakistan at home in a three-Test series. Later, they go Down Under to take on the mighty Aussies in a four-Test series in December-January.
The squad for the first two Tests against Pakistan would be picked on Nov 14, a day before the fourth and penultimate ODI between the two teams at Gwalior. India has its nose ahead with a 2-1 lead and would be hoping to wrap up the series there.
"The team for the first two Tests would be chosen in Mumbai by the selectors on Wednesday," BCCI sources said.
Newly appointed Test captain Anil Kumble is expected to attend the meeting.
The opening Test is to be held at Delhi from Nov 22-26 while Kolkata is the venue for the Nov 30-Dec 4 second Test.
The team for the subsequent four-Test series in Australia, commencing on Dec 26, would be chosen between the end of the second Test against Pakistan and the start of the third and concluding Test (Dec 8-12) at Bangalore.
"The team for Australia will be selected between the second and third Tests against Pakistan. We can't delay choosing the team," BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah said.
Shah said henceforth, teams would not be chosen on days when matches involving the squad are held.
"We will not choose teams on the day of a match. It becomes difficult for the selectors to concentrate on the game," Shah explained.
India are to play the four Test matches for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against hosts Australia at Melbourne (Dec 26-30, 2007), Sydney (Jan 2-6, 2008), Perth (Jan 16-20) and Adelaide (Jan 24-28).
In-form Yuvi takes on Laxman
The biggest ongoing battle in the Indian Test team is for the number six position in the batting order. In-form batsman Yuvraj Singh is making a strong claim to displace veteran VVS Laxman from the final XI.
It appears like Laxman would be given the go in the first Test and his form would be assessed by the selectors. The Hyderabad batsman will have no liberty to make errors as the flamboyant Yuvraj aspires to transform his ODI form into the longer version of the game.
Viru and Pak
The Delhi opener has smashed a triple-century and double-century against Pakistan in the past. He was not a part of the victorious Indian Test team in England. Dinesh Karthik has almost cemented his place at the top of the order and is Sehwag's biggest obstacle to get back into the scheme of things.
Indian selectors will probably consider Sehwag's tremendous record against Pakistan into consideration before announcing the final 13-man squad.
Sources say that Karthik deserves a longer run as Test opener and will continue to partner Wasim Jaffer at the helm of the order.
Harbhajan Singh will in all probability be picked in the team to support Kumble as the second spin option. Murali Kartik may not get the nod just yet.
Probables: Anil Kumble (captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik/Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh.
ThatsCricket (with inputs from Agencies)