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Ehsan
April 2, 2003, 05:02 PM
Ganguly coming

India pick four rookies

Pallab Bhattacharya, from New Delhi


India have included four uncapped players in their 15-man squad for next week's triangular tournament in Bangladesh after five World Cup stars pulled out.

Five senior players-- batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, vice captain and wicketkeeper Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble and Ashish Nehra-- have been kept out of the team for injuries and personal reasons, Indian cricket board secretary S K Nair told reporters in Bombay yesterday.


Tendulkar and Dravid both have hand injuries. Paceman Nehra is awaiting ankle surgery, and veteran bowlers Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble asked to rest.

Saurav Ganguly remains captain, and John Wright coach after the board extended his contract by two months, Nair said.


Batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Abhijit Kale, medium-pacer Avishkar Salvi and leg-spinner Amit Mishra are all included for the first time.

And off-spinner Sarandeep Singh has been recalled. Wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel will be called into action in place of Dravid, who is getting married with a doctor in Nagpur next month.

The new comers were selected for their impressive performance in the recent tour of West Indies with India A as well as in domestic competitions.

Delhi opener Gambhir starred on the tour of India A, where they took part in the domestic first-class championship, scoring 617 runs at an average of 89.11.


But it is unlikely for Gambhir to open the innings in Dhaka as skipper Ganguly and stand-in vice-captain Virender Sehwag are set to fill in opening slot.

Salvi is set to share the new ball. The 21-year-old quick from Bombay had an outstanding Windies tour, taking 29 wickets, and was singled out for special praise by coach Ashok Malhotra. He was immensely successful at home also, taking 23 wickets from four only matches.


Leg-spinner Amit Mishra also proved his mettle in the Caribbean where he took 26 wickets from six matches with the best figures of five for 30. But how he performs on the batting-friendly pitch at the Bangabandhu National Stadium is matter to be seen. In fact, it will be a toss-up between leggie Mishra and left-arm spinner Murali Karthik.

Besides Mishra, the two other spinners in the Indian team are Harbhajan Singh and Sarandeep Singh.


World Cup all-rounders Agit Agarkar and Sanjay Bangar will hope for playing time after both were denied the chance in South Africa.

The tournament, also involving South Africa, begins in Dhaka on 11 April.

The Indian team will leave for Dhaka from Calcutta on April 9 and play their first match against Bangladesh on April 11.


SQUAD

Saurav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice captain), Mohammad Kaif, Dinesh Mongia, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Sarandeep Singh, Parthiv Patel (wicket keeper), Avishkar Salvi, Gautam Gambhir, Amit Mishra, Amit Bhandari and Avijit Kale.