CRICKET / Shikhar Dhawan expected to open with Vijay
A woefully out-of-form Virender Sehwag, 27 runs in the last three innings, lost his place in the Indian team for the remaining two Tests against Australia.
The team, announced on Thursday, saw just this change from the squad that has won the first two Tests at Chennai and Hyderabad.
The National selectors decided not to name a replacement since this is a home series and the team has an opener-in-waiting in Shikhar Dhawan, yet to be capped in Test cricket.
The Delhi left-hander had shown superb form with the bat in the domestic season and, ironically, will replace his famed State partner.
Even though Ajinkya Rahane has opened for India in One-Day Internationals, he is being considered only for a middle-order berth in the longer version of the game.
The left-handed Dhawan is set to open at Mohali with Murali Vijay, who produced a quality century in the last Test, which India won by an innings and 135 runs.
Much against wide-spread speculation, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, not at his best and making a comeback to the Test arena, has managed to keep his place, thanks to an improved show in the second innings of the Chennai Test.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had given indications in favour of Harbhajan when he said, “He bowled well in the second innings of the first Test and also here (Hyderabad). He is showing improvement.” This backing from the skipper did not go unnoticed when the selectors retained Harbhajan through a tele-conference.
Ishant Sharma, below his expected standards, has retained his place essentially because of lack of options.
Though his experience was a key factor, his ability to reverse swing clinched the argument in his favour. The team management was obviously pleased with his skills with the old ball.
The rest of the players picked themselves. The third Test will be played at Mohali from March 14 and the last at Delhi from March 22.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashoke Dinda, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha and Ishant Sharma