MUMBAI, India, CMC- Pacer Ishant Sharma was surprisingly retained while senior bowler Zaheer Khan was ignored in a 15-member Indian squad announced for Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell two-Test series against the West Indies next month.
Ishant has been heavily criticized for his poor form and was even dropped from the last two matches of the ongoing series against Australia.
Zaheer, on the other hand, had made a case for his selection by picking up five wickets in Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy opener against Haryana.
The 35-year-old Zaheer has been out of the Test team since December last year owing to fitness and form issues.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and batsman Suresh Raina were also dropped from the squad.
While Jadeja went out due to a shoulder strain, Raina had to make way for a fit-again Shikhar Dhawan.
Dhawan has shown sparkling form in the ongoing ODIs after recovering from a hand injury and struck a hundred in the sixth ODI.
Pacer Umesh Yadav, who had been rested after the tri-series in the West Indies, made his way back to the side. Also there was young pacer Mohammed Shami.
The pace attack was, in fact, notably overhauled by the selectors with Ashok Dinda making way for 23-year-old Shami, for whom it would be his maiden Test series.
Young seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has retained his place.
Senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was, however, shown the door with Amit Mishra taking his place in the side.
Harbhajan was ousted despite picking nine wickets in Punjab’s opening Ranji match against Odisha.
The spin attack will be spearheaded by Ravichandran Ashwin with Pragyan Ojha and Mishra backing him up.
The batting line-up was not touched too much with Dhawan’s re-entry being the only change.
The spotlight will, however, firmly be on Tendulkar, who would be completing 200 Tests in international cricket before drawing the curtains on his career.
The landmark match would be played in the 40-year-old’s home ground in Mumbai from November 14, preceded by the opening game in Kolkata from November 6.
India squad: MS Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma