Delhi left-hander Shikhar Dhawan and Uttar Pradesh seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been picked in the India 15 for the first two Tests against Australia to be played at Chennai and Hyderabad.
Dhawan comes into the squad at the expense of fellow opener from Delhi, Gautam Gambhir. Tamil Nadu’s Murali Vijay is the third opener in the team, and it would be interesting to see if the India captain opts for a left-right combination or would prefer Virender Sehwag and Vijay, who after his 139 and 37 against Australia at Bangalore in October 2010, had dismal scores of 13, 9, 8, 0, 11, 3, 5 and 45 in four Test matches in the West Indies.
Gambhir has not scored a Test century since his 116 against Bangladesh at Chittagong in January 2010, and in the recent four-Test series against England he made 45 at Motera, 4 and 65 at Mumbai, 60 and 40 at Kolkata and 37 at Nagpur.
Harbhajan Singh who had two leg-trap victims (Aditya Tare and Ajinkya Rahane) in the second innings of the Irani Cup match against Mumbai here on Sunday has been recalled. He played his 99th Test against England at Mumbai, but did not figure in the subsequent two Tests in Kolkata and Nagpur. He is likely to play his 100th Test at Chennai. The selectors have dropped Gambhir, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and seamer Parvinder Awana from the 15 that was picked for the fourth Test against England at Nagpur.
Gambhir will lead the India ‘A’ team in the three-day game against Australia from Feb. 16 to 18.
The team: M.S. Dhoni (capt.), Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashoke Dinda, Murali Vijay and Ishant Sharma.