Chennai: Former skipper Sourav Ganguly was today included in the Indian squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka. Ganguly, who was earlier stripped of the ODI and Test captaincy, was included in the team as a "batting all-rounder" after a marathon meeting of the five-member selection committee meeting. Wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni was also rewarded for his performance in ODIs with a berth in the Test squad. But the selectors left out Zaheer Khan while recalling VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble. Meanwhile, the selection committee retained the same 15-man squad for the remaining two ODIs against South Africa in Kolkata and Mumbai on 25 and 28 November respectively. The prince returns The Prince of Kolkata's return to Team India comes after a two-month hiatus. But surprisingly, the decision to bring Ganguly back into the team was not unanimous. Apparently, it took a 3-2 decision from the selection committee in his favour, but it's a decision that may not gel with the team's long-term vision, even suggesting that the final vote came from the top. The fact remains that Sourav Ganguly is a better player in the one-day format of the game. He's only one of four batsmen to have crossed the 10,000-run mark and is closing in on 100 wickets. However in Tests, his 5,000 runs are complimented only by 25-wickets although he has bowled some useful spells in the past. Some now believe that he needs to use this opportunity to elbow his way back in to the one-day spot. "He is fit right now and his comeback will be good for the Indian cricket team. He can also be used as the third seamer, especially if you look at his current bowling form," says Chandu Borde, Former Indian Selector. Ganguly's every move will no doubt be under the microscope in the first Test against Sri Lanka. Zaheer out Meanwhile, the exclusion of Zaheer Khan from the team has come as a big surprise. The Baroda speedster took 23 wickets in three games for West Zone in the Duleep trophy, but this was obviously not good enough to get him his place back in the team. The selectors also felt the need to experiment with the bowling line-up, which has led to the inclusion Uttar Pradesh's RP Singh. The general buzz prior to the selection was that apart from Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, the only other player who could count his name in the Test team was MS Dhoni. His Man of the Series performance against Sri Lanka has now seen him replace Dinesh Kaarthick behind the stumps. But since both keepers have age on their side, it's going to be an intriguing battle over the next few years.
(With PTI inputs)