India name 15-man team for 1st Test against Proteas
NEW DELHI: India have announced here the 15-member team for the first Test against South Africa but they not included three key players when they defend their number one Test ranking against the Proteas next month.
Key batsmen, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, were on Thursday excluded from a 15-man squad for the first of two Test matches starting in Nagpur on February six.
The second-ranked South Africa need to win the series 2-0 to displace India from the top. A 1-0 result in favour of the Proteas will leave both teams level on 123 rating points.
Dravid fractured his jaw bone and Yuvraj tore a cartilage on his left wrist during the second Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka earlier this week.
Sreesanth suffered a hamstring strain during the first Test of the same series in Chittagong.
All three players are also likely to miss the second Test against the Proteas in Kolkata from February 14, the team for which will be named later.
Veteran batsman Venkatsai Laxman, who needed stitches on a bruised finger during the Chittagong Test, was declared fit to play.
The squad includes three uncapped players, batsman Subramaniam Badrinath, reserve wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha and promising seamer Abhimanyu Mithun, for the first Test.
Mithun, 20, a right-arm seamer, grabbed 47 first-class wickets in nine matches in his debut season, helping Karnataka reach the Ranji Trophy final earlier this month.
Badrinath is still to play a Test after three one-day appearances, while Saha replaces Dinesh Karthik as the second wicketkeeper, behind skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
India squad for first Test:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Subramaniam Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Sudeep Tyagi, Pragyan Ojha, Abhimanyu Mithun, Wriddhiman Saha.
Coach: Gary Kirsten (RSA).