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Yuvraj, Nehra to sit out for 1st Test

By Ashish Magotra in Chandigarh
Last updated on: March 07, 2005 14:33 IST
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On the eve of the first Test the Indian team underwent a light training session before skipper Sourav Ganguly addressed the media.

The main question at this point is who will be left out of the playing eleven. Ganguly cleared this dilemma partially by saying that Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra will be left out of the top twelve.

"We are looking to pick the players who will suit the pitch. We are a balanced team and all our bowlers are fit. We have decided to leave Yuvraj and Ashish out of the twelve."

So that means that the choice for the final player of the playing XI has been narrowed down to between off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and medium-pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji.

One feels that it is Harbhajan Singh who will get the nod simply because Ganguly can do a very good job as a seamer and we need to remember that both Kumble and Harbhajan are at their best on tracks that offer bounce.

Ganguly also rates this as the biggest series in world cricket.

"The Indo-Pak rivalry is the greatest in the world, bigger that the Ashes too. Simply because there are more people who come out to watch the cricket. The teams are evenly matched as well."

Responding to a query Pakistan's recent dominance of India in the one-day area-- they have won the last four one-dayers against India-- Ganguly said his team wasn't unduly worried of the record.

"They have done very well against India in one-dayers but we are not worried about that. Test cricket will be different."

"Woolmer is a good coach but the ODIs were a closely fought affair when we visited Pakistan too. Pakistan was then coached by Javed Miandad."

As with any Indo-Pak series there is always talk of whether cricket will help bring the two nations closer.

"Yes, I think it will. This is more than a series. The friendship is a building process and we are doing all we can."

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Ashish Magotra in Chandigarh