Friday, 28 October 2011

Jadeja set to make Test cut, Harbhajan remains doubtful

KOLKATA: Ravindra Jadeja's rich vein of form with bat and ball since his return to the ODI could well earn him a berth in the squad for the first Test against the West Indies, to be played in Delhi from November 6.

The Saurashtra left-arm-spinner, who is also a handy lower-order batsman, has impressed the team management as well as the selectors with his work ethic in his 'second coming' and is set to grab one of the three berths 'reserved' for spinners in the 15-member squad to be picked on Friday.

Jadeja, who topped the bowling chart in the five-match ODI series against England, picking up 11 wickets, will have to compete with Hyderabad left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha for a place in the final XI. Tamil Nadu off-spinner Ashwin is also tipped to be picked ahead of senior pro Harbhajan Singh.

Unless skipper MS Dhoni prevails upon the Krishnamachari Srikkanth-led selection committee that also includes Mohinder Amarnath, Surendra Bhave, Nardendra Hirwani and Raja Venkat, Harbhajan's dream of playing his 100th Test match at the Eden Gardens may not be fulfilled.

Dhoni is known to have his way at selection meetings, but despite his sparkling form in the shorter form of the game - that was largely instrumental in India sweeping aside England 5-0 - his dismal form with the bat and shoddy wicketkeeping in England has not been lost on the selectors.

According to TOI's sources, at least three of the selectors feel that Team India need separate captains in the two principal formats of international cricket with Dhoni retaining the 'armband' in only the limited-overs variety. However, in absence of a consensus on such a major issue and also in light of the 'whitewash' of England in the 'revenge' series, Dhoni is likely to continue as captain for now, and a change at the top will only be effected after the Australia tour.

Young Virat Kohli is set to return to the Test fold at the expense of Suresh Raina, who selectors feel is best cut out for the slam-bang variety.

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