Ishant, Harbhajan uncertain for SA Tests

Updated: 17 March 2008 07:20 IST

The unavailability and fitness worries over the key bowlers will be the main concern when the national selectors meet on Monday to pick the team

Ishant, Harbhajan uncertain for SA Tests

Bangalore:

The unavailability and fitness worries over the key bowlers will be the main concern when the national selectors meet on Monday to pick the team for the first two Tests against South Africa.

The selectors will have a limited option of fit bowlers at their disposal with fast bowler Zaheer Khan ruled out of the first Test and young pace sensation Ishant Sharma being a doubtful starter.

Seamer Rudra Pratap Singh, who missed out on the tri-series in Australia owing to a ham-string injury, has been declared fit but there are still worries about the fitness of ace spinner Harbhajan Singh.

Although pacers Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan and S Sreesanth have been declared fit.

In batting, selectors would also need to scratch their head over the inclusion of middle order batsman Yuvraj Singh, who is struggling to find form, even as veterans like Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman are expected to return for the series.

The three were not selected for the tri-series with the selectors putting emphasis on youth but are certainties in the longer version of the game.

It will be interesting to see whether in-formed Gautam Gambhir, who emerged the highest run-getter in the recent one-day tri-series Down Under, gets a berth in the Test squad particularly in view of Wasim Jaffer's poor form in recent times.

The selectors may also discuss at length whether to give a chance to Virender Sehwag, who form has not been great but is known to be a match-winner when he gets going.

In case, Harbhajan Singh is not fit the selectors may opt for young Uttar Pradesh spinner Piyush Chawla to back-up captain Anil Kumble.

Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik may also come into the equation if the selectors want more variety in the spin department. According to sources, the selectors could decide to go for three spinners.

Team India coach Gary Kirsten, a former South African opener, arrived here last evening for the meeting.

The first Test begins in Chennai on March 26.

Chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar had confirmed last week that Kumble would lead the team in the three-Test home series.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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