KOLKATA: Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and left-handed batsman Yuvraj Singh have been dropped from India’s squad for the fourth and final Test against England, which begins at Nagpur on December 13.
Stung by losses in the last two home Test matches at Mumbai and Kolkata, the Sandeep Patil-led selection committee also chose to omit off-spinner Harbhajan Singh from the 15-member squad.
India trail the series 1-2 after having begun with a nine-wicket win at Ahmedabad in the opening Test.
While Zaheer has been replaced by the 26-year-old Parvinder Awana - who has been having a decent season for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy – Yuvraj and Harbhajan were replaced by Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla.
Zaheer looked lackluster in the first three Tests against England and took just four four wickets at an average of over 53 per scalp. Yuvraj averaged 25 over five innings, and although he scored a fighting half-century on comeback at Motera, he was guilty of giving up his wicket to rash shots on at least two occasions.
His replacement - the 24-year-old Jadeja – has been in terrific form for Saurashtra, having already amassed two triple hundreds in the current domestic season.
Harbhajan played the second Test at Mumbai, where he bowled just 23 overs in the match and picked up two wickets. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, who fills in for Harbhajan, should consider himself lucky at the call up since he has been turning in mediocre outings for Uttar Pradesh on the Ranji circuit.
Sachin Tendulkar, who has batted five innings for 110 runs (average of 22) in the ongoing series – and also visibly struggled against the bowling – is still in the squad and will look to redress his dwindling form at Nagpur.
Sehwag out of Twenty20s
The squad for the two Twenty20 matches - to be held at Pune (December 20) and Mumbai (December 22) - was also announced. The new faces in the squad were Uttar Pradesh all-rounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Awana. Virender Sehwag was not named in the list. With Dhoni continuing as captain in both Tests and Twenty20s, it is apparent that the selectors are not interested allowing him to focus on leading in one format and relinquising the captiancy in the others.
The squad: Tests: MS Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, M. Vijay, Parvinder Awana.
Twenty20s: MS Dhoni (Captain), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Laxmipathy Balaji, Parvinder Awana.