The Sweet 16

BCCI pulled another surprise when Viru Sehwag was included in the final 16 to tour Australia this December. Mind you, he was not in the 24 probables’ list. This is indeed a good decision as Viru is the master of backfoot and quite a genius at playing cuts. He has displayed equal finesse in playing on the bouncy pitches of Australia. This could also be a moral booster for Parthiv Patel and Aakash Chopra, who were not selected despite their terrific form in domestic cricket, that if they perform they may be back in the team.

A blunder has been committed by dropping Murali Karthik, though. India need specialist spinners on the pitches of Adelaide and Sydney. Kumble and Harbhajan are good but the captain can’t replace the ace left leggy with a part time bowler.

Dinesh Karthik has been lucky to have retained his place despite a below par series with Pakistan. His place was threatened by Parthiv Patel, who is an equally competent wicket-keeper and opener batsman. Had Viru been dropped, Aakash Chopra would have definitely donned the Test cap. Better luck next time Aakash and Parthiv.

Indian pace attack has regained it’s fitness. Zaheer Khan will lead the pack. RP Singh has passed the fitness test, as well. Ishant Sharma and VRV Singh will retain their spot. Another surprise entry in the test squad against Australia has been Pankaj Singh of Rajasthan. The 22 years old, 6’5″ pacer is well suited for Australian conditions. Because of his height and bowling action he can deduce extra pace and bounce from the wickets, Down Under.

The final 16 member squad for the Australian tour which starts in Perth from December 24, 2007 is as follows:

  • Anil Kumble (C)
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni (VC)
  • Rahul Dravid
  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Sourav Ganguly
  • VVS Laxman
  • Yuvraj Singh
  • Virendra Sehwag
  • Dinesh Karthik
  • Zaheer Khan
  • RP Singh
  • Ishant Sharma
  • Pankaj Singh
  • Irfan Pathan
  • Harbhajan Singh
  • VRV Singh
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