Gambhir, Ishant back for New Zealand series

Zeecric Bureau

Chennai: The Indian cricket selectors on Monday named the 15-member Indian Test squad for the upcoming home series against New Zealand in November.

Gambhir and Ishant, who had to sit out of the second and final Test against Australia at Bangalore because of injury, have recovered sufficiently to be named in the squad, which has no new faces.

While upcoming batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has been retained, two other youngsters Abhinav Mukund and Jaidev Unadkat have been left out of the team announced by the BCCI after a meeting of the selection committee here.

Out-of-form Yuvraj Singh again failed to find favour in the Test squad, with the selectors opting for Suresh Raina and Pujara as the middle-order batsmen, both of whom have done reasonably well when provided with the opportunity.

The team, to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has three fast bowlers in Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth and Ishant and three specialist spinners comprising Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha.

The Indian batting order looks formidable as it has stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag, who have all been in fine nick in recent times.

The return of Gambhir, who was laid low by a knee injury, means that opener Murali Vijay will have to sit out of the series commencing November 4 in Ahmadabad.

"The team has performed extremely well against the Australians in both the Tests and One day series, particularly the Bangalore Test. Our junior players have gelled well in the middle-order with the seniors. Our bowlers have done a remarkable job.”

"Going by this, we have picked the team for all the three Tests. I am confident that our players will continue their victory march," BCCI chief selector Kris Srikkanth told reporters here.

"Our bench strength has come good and it was there for all to witness. This is a good sign for Indian cricket. Like it is said that the best player win, I must say let the best team (India) win," Srikkanth said adding the team for the one-day series will be picked later.

Dhoni did not attend the meeting but he was consulted over phone by the five-member selection panel.