Bangalore, march 17: The in-form Delhi batsman Gautam Gambhir failed to make the cut in 14-member India squad for the first of three-Test home series against South Africa starting in Chennai on March 26.
Gambhir despite scoring a bucketful of runs in the domestic cricket last season and in recently concluded CB tri-series was dreadfully unlucky to miss the bus as selectors decided to retain the batting line-up featured against Australia and Pakistan in the recent past.
The lanky paceman Ishant Sharma was ruled out owing to toe injury while his fellow tradesman R P Singh, who missed the last two Tests in Down Under due to injury, cleared fitness test to make a comeback.
The lone surprise picking in the squad was left-arm spinner Murali Kartik. Kartik was brought in as third spinner.
Harbhajan and Dhoni, who failed to turn out for fitness tests scheduled today, will undergo the tests at the NCA here on March 21 as the BCCI had made it mandatory for the Test players, who were off the field for over a month, to prove their fitness ahead of selections.
The young leg-spinner from UP Piyush Chawla and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Kartik has been named as back-up for Bhajji and Dhoni respectively.
Irfan Pathan, S Sreesanth and RP are the three pace bowlers named in the squad for the first two Tests of a three-match series, the other venues of which are Ahmedabad and Kanpur.
Yuvraj, who was nursing knee injury, cleared fitness test to board the Team India bus.
Squad: Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble (capt), Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Sreesanth and RP Singh. Reserve: Piyush Chawla, Dinesh Kartik (stand-by for Dhoni)