Lanka series: Laxman, Zaheer left out

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The Indian team for the first two matches of the one-day cricket series against Sri Lanka has been announced.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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The Indian team for the first two matches of the one-day cricket series against Sri Lanka has been announced. And coach Greg Chappell seems to be having his way in the selection of the Indian team, which is why youngsters like Suresh Raina and RP Singh are getting ample opportunities. New talent is being blooded in the form of Kerala fast bowler S Sreesanth and the out of form and over age players are being left out. Sadly VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan now find themselves in that category. Laxman sidelined While Sourav Ganguly's absence from the team can be attributed to his elbow injury, Laxman has reason to feel aggrieved at his exclusion. He was dropped last year for the Bangladesh series, brought back this year for the Sri Lanka series, then he scored 158 runs in two innings as captain of India A in the Challenger Series. But clearly, he does not have age on his side. On the other hand, Zaheer might have age on his side, but is once again on the sidelines. This, in spite of picking up nine wickets in the two Tests in Zimbabwe at around 20 runs a wicket. But the selectors insist that form and not age will still be the criteria. Core of pacers And taking a cue from Chappell's plan to build a core of fast bowlers, 19-year old Kerala pacer S Sreesanth gets his first taste of international cricket. So with the exception of Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar, the team has two new pacers. But most of the youngsters like Suresh Raina, Venugoapl Rao and RP Singh have been persisted with. Mohammad Kaif's absence probably opened the doors for Gautam Gambhir. Team: Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Venugopala Rao, Suresh Raina, M S Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, J P Yadav, Sreesanth, Gautam Gambhir and R P Singh.

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