Zaheer, Yuvraj, Harbhajan dropped for fourth Test

Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) The India team selectors Friday dropped senior players Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in the wake of home side's seven-wicket loss to England here Sunday. Parwinder Awana, Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja were named their replacements for the fourth and final Test beginning in Nagpur Dec 13.

Strong decisions were expected from the Sandeep Patil-led selection committee as India find themselves in an unusual situation at home, down 1-2 in the four-match series. And they did take some hair-raising calls at a meeting here after the match without going to the extent of dropping Sachin Tendulkar.

Zaheer, the team's pace spearhead for many years now, was shown the door after a string of below-par performances. He has taken 15 wickets in eight Tests this year, at a strike rate of 98 balls per wicket. The left-arm seamer's replacement, Awana, has bagged 21 wickets in Ranji Trophy at an average of 21.57. The Delhi pacer is yet to make his international debut.

Yuvraj was ignored after scores of 11, 32, 8, 0, 74 in the last five innings of his comeback series. All-rounder Jadeja comes into the team after scoring three triple hundreds in 13 months and is a direct replacement for Yuvraj.

Leggie Piyush Chawla was preferred over Harbhajan, who only played in the Mumbai Test. The last of Chawla's two Tests was at Kanpur in 2008.

"Dropping Harbhajan seemed a bit harsh to me," former chairman of selectors Krishnamachari Srikkanth was quoted as saying by a TV channel.

Squad: M.S. Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Murali Vijay, Parvinder Awana.

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