Selectors have to take a call on Harbhajan

The national cricket selectors will Friday have to decide whether they should bring Harbhajan Singh back to the India squad for the first two Tests against the West Indies after young Ravinchandran Ashwin's impressive showing in the just-concluded ODI series against England.

The five selectors will also have to take a call on the fitness of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, though they will have to strictly go by the assessment of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) medical experts.

Harbhajan Singh was axed from the ODI team following his none-too-impressive outings in West Indies and then in England in the summer, though he pulled out of the English tour after two Tests with an abdominal strain.

The 31-year-old Punjab bowler had to sit out the entire ODI series in which India blanked England 5-0 at home with Ashwin picking up ten wickets to finish as the team's second most successful bowler behind Ravindra Jadeja.

The speculation is that Krishnamachari Srikkanth's selection panel might include both in the squad, leaving it to the team management the composition of the playing eleven, depending on the pitch at the Ferozeshah Kotla before the Test starting Nov 6.

Sachin Tendulkar sustained a toe injury in the run up to the ODI series in England while Sehwag had to go under a surgeon's knife to set right a shoulder problem. The medical reports would be before the selectors.

Lanky pacer Ishant Sharma is also nursing a torn ligament in his left ankle and the medical report and his inclusion again depends on his fitness report from NCA.

Yuvraj Singh is another cricketer whose fitness is sealed in an NCA envelope. He missed the ODIs against England with a broken finger. A week ago he said his injury is healing and he would soon be fit to play.

Rahul Dravid, India's batting hero in England and V.V.S. Laxman are certain to return to the squad.

It would also be interesting to see if the selectors decide to retain the two young fast bowlers Umesh Yadav and Arun Aaron, who logging 140-plus on speedo metre against England in the ODIs. Praveen Kumar will spearhead the attack while Vinay Kumar, who had a good ODI series against England, will also be in contention.



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