Bangalore: The out-of-sorts Delhi swash'buckler' Virender Sehwag was drafted into 16-member India squad for the four-Test series against Australia starting on Dec 26.
Sehwag, discarded for the last two Test series against England and Pakistan due to indifferent form, was included after his fellow Delhi batsman Gautam Gambhir, who is down with sore shoulder, was advised three weeks rest.
Uncapped lanky right-arm seamer from Rajasthan Pankaj Singh was named ahead of inconsistent Munaf patel. Munaf was reportedly been advised to play more domestic games to work on his bowling which has lost sheen in the recent times.
The selectors retained Irfan Pathan, recalled for the drawn final Test against Pakistan, and impressive teenager Ishant Sharma in a squad with five specialist new ball bowlers.
Left-armer Rudra Pratap Singh also returned after missing the home series against Pak due to an abdomen injury, shoring up the pace department which has been hit by fitness woes.
With Sreesanth unfit the pace attack is spearheaded by Zaheer Khan and backed up by RP Singh, Ishant, Pathan and Pankaj.
Second wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik retained his spot despite struggling as a makeshift opener against Pakistan, after hitting a 50 in the final Test which ended in a draw on Wednesday, giving India a 1-0 series win.
India play four Tests at the batsman-friendly MCG, Melbourne (Dec 26-30), at spin-friendly SCG, Sydney (Jan 2-6), at bouncy WACA, Perth (Jan 16-20) and at flattest Aussie strip Adelaide Oval,Adelaide (Jan 24-28). The series will be followed by a one-day tri-series also involving Sri Lanka.
India: Anil Kumble (capt), Wasim Jaffer, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Vangipurappu Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma, Pankaj Singh and Dinesh Karthik.