Sreesanth makes a surprise comeback against Lanka

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> While Zaheer Khan was an obvious choice, Indian selectors have overlooked Ashish Nehra and have surprisingly picked S Sreesanth for the three-Test series.

Updated: November 10, 2009 14:05 IST
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New Delhi:

Temperamental paceman S Sreesanth, whose on-field antics have often landed him in trouble, was on Tuesday surprisingly included in India's 15-member squad for the first two cricket Tests against Sri Lanka starting November 16 in Ahmedabad.

Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan expectedly returned to the squad after recovering from a shoulder injury, which had kept him out of the tri-series in Sri Lanka and the ensuing Champions Trophy in September.

The team to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni also includes Tamil Nadu players opener Murali Vijay and middle-order batsman S Badrinath, while pacers Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel were ignored.

Nehra did reasonably well in the ongoing one-day series against Australia, failed to find a place in the squad announced by BCCI secretary N Srinivasan after a meeting of the selection panel here.

The selection of Sreesanth raised eyebrows as the Kerala pacer has not really done anything significant in the domestic circuit since recovering from a back injury.

The selection seems all the more baffling given the fact that the bowler, who has a history of disciplinary indiscretions, was only last month given a final warning by the BCCI to mend his ways. .

The 26-year-old Sreesanth will return to the Test fold after more than a year having played his last Test in April 2008 against South Africa in Kanpur.

India last played a Test match in April this year against New Zealand and the players to miss out from that squad are pacer Laxmipathy Balaji, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and Dhawal Kulkarni.

Batsmen Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and pacer Praveen Kumar, who are playing in the ongoing series against Australia, were not considered for selection for the three-match Test series.

As expected, the veteran batting duo of Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman retained their places.

Barring Sreesanth's comeback, there were no major surprises in the squad, which has eight specialist batsmen, three pacers, three spinners and one wicketkeeper in Dhoni.

Zaheer's return will bolster the pace department which also has an off-colour Ishant Sharma, who has been retained despite his indifferent performance in last few months.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will lead the spin attack with leg-spinner Amit Mishra and young left-armer Pragyan Ojha supporting him.

While Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir will open the innings, Murali Vijay has been picked as reserve.

The middle-order has a stable look with Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Laxman and Yuvraj Singh forming a formidable line-up.

The Indian play the first Test in Ahmedabad followed by two more Tests in Kanpur (November 24 to 28) and Mumbai (December 2 to 6).

After the Test series, the Sri Lankans will play two Twenty20 matches and five one-dayers.

Team: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Pragyan Ojha, S Sreesanth and S Badrinath.

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