Dhoni, Harbhajan doubtful for Chennai Test against Proteas

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Bangalore, Mar 17 (UNI) Vice-captain M S Dhoni and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh are doubtful starters for the first test against South Africa, as BCCI today announced the Indian team for the first two of the three test series beginning in Chennai on March 26.

The national selectors, not sprinting up any surprises, reposed their faith on the old batting guard in Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman, while leaving out rookee speedsters Pankaj Singh of Rajasthan and Vikram Singh of UP from the squad that toured Australia.

Dhoni and Harbhajan were kept in the 14-member squad but their availability would be known only after the fitness test before March 21.

With Chennai wicket expected to assist spinners, selectors also included Railway spinner Murali Karthik in the squad.

Announcing the team, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said Dhoni and Harbhajan would undergo fitness test by March 21 here and if found unfit they would be replaced by Dinesh Karthik and leg spinner Piyush Chawla, respectively.

Mr Shah said lanky speedster Ishant Sharma had not fully recovered from a toe injury and would not play in the first test.

However, he would be considered for selection, if found fully fit, for the second test beginning in Ahmedabad on April three, he said.

Speedster Zaheer Khan, however, is ruled out for the whole tour.

''No. He will not be playing in the entire tour as he needs some more time to recover,'' Mr Shah said.

Following is the team: Anil Kumble (Capt), M S Dhoni (WK-Vice-Capt), Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, R P Singh, S Sreesanth and Murali Karthik.

UNI MSP-RS AB RK1933

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