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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ganguly dropped for third Test

Ganguly dropped for third Test

Last updated on: December 14, 2005 16:15 IST

Sourav Ganguly was dropped from the Indian squad for the third Test against Sri Lanka, beginning in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer replaces the deposed India captain in the squad, announced by the Indian selection committee in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Ganguly had made decent contributions of 40 and 39 in the second Test against Sri Lanka, which India won by 188 runs, but that didn't seem enough to please the Indian selectors.

Ganguly was earlier not only stripped of the captaincy but also omitted from the one-day squad for the series against Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The selectors also decided to retain Rahul Dravid as captain for the upcoming series against Pakistan and England, which means the Karnataka batsman will be in the hot seat till the end of March.

Selection committee chairman Kiran More said "looking at future" was the reason behind appointing Dravid as captain for the rest of the season and picking Yuvraj Singh while leaving out the experienced Ganguly.

"The situation is that I don't want Ganguly at number six. We want Yuvraj to play there. He has done well, and we don't want to have Sourav (Ganguly) in the team and put him in the reserve," More told reporters after the selection committee meeting.

"What we felt was that Yuvraj is in good form and we are looking at future. We want to give him more chance and prepare him for Pakistan and England," he added.

Although the selectors generally retain the winning combination, they surprisingly chose to omit the Bengal left-hander.

India are to visit Pakistan in January-February for three Tests and five one-day internationals. They then immediately host England from late February in three Tests and seven ODIs.

Ganguly had been in direct contention with Yuvraj for the middle order slot. Yuvraj got an opportunity to play in Kotla only because Virender Sehwag fell ill and impressed the selectors with an unbeaten 77.

More said the decision does not mean that "the doors are closed on Ganguly" but they went ahead with a player who has been consistently doing well and would serve the team in the years to come.

"We have a player (Yuvraj) who is doing better. It is not fair to drop him. We want to give opportunity to a player who can go on for six years or more," the former India stumper said.

"There is no comparison. It is just the way Yuvraj has batted, he has done well in the one-dayers as well. We are preparing for the England series, the Pakistan tour will also be tough," he explained.

Asked if it meant that Ganguly was not in the scheme of things for Pakistan and England series, More said, "What we are considering is the opening slot. Our middle order is strong."

More agreed that Gautam Gambhir's run of poor scores was a concern and Jaffer was picked as an alternate opener considering his experience and ability against fast bowling.

"Definitely it (Gambhir's form) is a concern area. Pakistan will not be an easy tour, we have to look at the future also," he said.

"Gambhir has not clicked in only three matches but he has done well otherwise. Jaffer has done well in domestic cricket, he has the experience and the ability to play fast bowlers. That's why we have picked him."

Jaffer, 27, made his debut against Hansie Cronje's South Africa in 2000 and was dropped after two Tests. He was recalled two years later for the tour of the West Indies to be shown the door again after the series in England that followed.

In all, he has played in seven Tests and averages 20.07 with 261 runs including three half centuries.

Son of a bus conductor in Mumbai, Jaffer is a prolific scorer in first-class cricket. In 115 matches, he scored 8335 runs, at 49.91 with 22 tons, including a highest of 314 not out.

He recently scored a double century for Mumbai at the Kotla, against Delhi in the Ranji Trophy season opener last month.

Asked if the fact that the Board of Control for Cricket in India president, secretary and chairman of selectors all hailing from the West Zone had anything to do with Jaffer's inclusion, More replied: "That is very unfair. Please don't speculate."

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