Harbhajan dropped, Rohit named in Test squad

Mumbai: Out of form off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was today dropped while Rohit Sharma was recalled in India`s Test squad for next month`s tour of Australia.

Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who missed most part of the England tour and ongoing series against the West Indies because of an ankle injury, has been provisionally in the squad subject to passing the fitness test.

Bengal wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha was also named in the 17-member squad ahead of Parthiv Patel but there were no other major surprises in the team announced by the BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale after a meeting of the selection committee here.

The team, to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will have Virender Sehwag as his deputy. Sehwag was yesterday named captain of the team for the upcoming ODI against the West Indies after Dhoni was given rest.

The selectors more or less retained the core of the team that has been doing duty in the ongoing series against the West Indies which meant that Harbhajan continued to be in the wilderness.

Yuvraj Singh, who was not considered for selection for the ODI series against the West Indies after he declared himself unfit, was also not included in the team which has five pacers, including Zaheer, and two specialist spinners in Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin.

Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who has made quite an impression in the few opportunities he has got, has been retained in the team while fit-again Rohit was recalled.

The Test series against Australia will begin with the Boxing Day (December 26) Test in Melbourne, followed by three other matches in Sydney (Jany 3-7), in Perth (Jan 13-17) and in Adelaide (Jan 24-28).

The Squad: M S Dhoni (Capt.), Virender Sehwag (v. capt.), Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan (provisional).