MUMBAI: Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan was today included in India’s squad for the first two Tests against Sri Lanka after being sidelined for five months with injury.
The selectors also recalled temperamental fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth in a 15-man squad for the first two Tests of the three-match series, which starts in Ahmedabad on Monday. Khan, 31, who injured his left shoulder during the Indian Premier League in May, proved his fitness during a first-class match for Mumbai earlier this month.
The left-arm seamer, who has claimed 210 wickets in 65 Tests, missed several important series including the Champions Trophy in South Africa and the ongoing ODIs against world champions Australia. Sreesanth, 26, who played his last Test against South Africa 18 months ago, was recalled despite being given a “final warning” by Indian cricket chiefs to improve his behaviour.
His career has been marred by on-field tantrums and heated exchanges, forcing the Indian board to step in last month when he argued with rival players during a domestic match. Sreesanth, who has taken 50 wickets in 14 Tests, was included as the third seamer behind Khan and Ishant Sharma, with the final choice depending on the wicket at Ahmedabad’s Motera stadium.
The squad, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, includes batsman Subramaniam Badrinath and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, both of whom have yet to play a Test. The selectors kept faith in trusted veterans Venkatsai Laxman and Rahul Dravid in an experienced batting line-up that features world-record holder Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh.
India have not lost a Test at home against Sri Lanka.
The first Test in Ahmedabad will be followed by the second in Kanpur from November 24. The squad for the third Test in Mumbai from December 2 will be picked later, the Indian cricket board said in a release.