Harbhajan, Kartik get recall; Pathan, Sehwag left out

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Mumbai, Nov 14 (UNI) The national selectors today recalled spinners Harbhajan Singh and Murli Kartik to the 14-member Indian squad for the first two Tests in the best of three rubber against Pakistan here.

The selectors, who met here today under the chairmanship of Dilip Vengsarkar, however, found no place for swashbuckling opening batsman Virender Sehwag as well as pace bowler Irfan Pathan in the 14-member squad.

The players to be dropped from the team that played the last Test against England were pace bowler Ishant Sharma and off spinner Ramesh Powar. Gautam Gambhir also finds no place as the team was restricted to 14 members being a home series instead of the 15-member squad.

Harbhajan, the 57-Test-old off-spinner with 238 wickets in his bag, had last played in a Test eleven in April-May 2006.

The 26-year-old Punjab bowler was not in the team for the tours of Bangladesh and England earlier this year after failing to make it to the playing eleven against South Africa though he was part of the squad.

Murli Kartik's absence from the Test squad has been even longer.

The left arm spinner, who has played only eight Tests since his debut in 1999-2000, last figured in the final 11 against South Africa at Kanpur in 2004-05.

Former captain Rahul Dravid, who has been left out of the one-day squad, finds his rightful place in the Test team as is stylish middle order batsman V V S Laxman along with openers Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthick.

The selection committee meeting today was attended apart from Vengsarkar by the other four selectors Sanjay Jagdale, Venkatpathy Raju, Bhupinder Singh Sr, Ranjib Biswal and the captain of the Indian team Anil Kumble. The meeting was convened by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Niranjan Shah.

This team has been chosen for the first two Tests against Pakistan which will be held at Delhi from November 22-26 and Kolkata from November 30 to December 4. The third Test will be held at Bangalore from December 8-12 and the team for the third Test will be selected after the completion of the second Test, Mr Shah informed.

The team: Anil Kumble (c), Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthick, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, V V S Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (v-c, w-k), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Murali Kartik, S Sreesanth, R P Singh. Cricket Manager: Lalchand Rajput, Physio: John Gloster, Physical Trainer: Greogory King.

UNI

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