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Gambhir faces axe, Bhajji comes back

BCCI selectors dropped out-of-form Gautam Gambhir and included off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for the first two Tests of the four-match series against Australia starting later this month. The Sandip Patil-headed committee, which met at Mumbai’s Cricket Centre on Sunday, also included Delhi lad Shikhar Dhawan, who joins the side as the third opener after Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay.

Harbhajan Singh, who was dropped from the squad for the fourth Test against England, also got picked keeping in mind his superb show against Australia over the years. Harbhajan, who replaced Piyush Chawla, will be third spinner in the side along with Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. Among pacers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar retained his place in the side following a strong performance in the ODIs against Pakistan and England. Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda are the other fast bowlers while Parwinder Awana, who was in the side during Tests against England, faced the axe. Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 83 in the first innings of the Irani Cup match, also managed to retain his place in the squad but Suresh Raina, who struck a century and a fifty in the same match, failed to attract the attention of the selectors.

Dhawan was rewarded for his consistent performance in domestic circuit. He scored 833 first-class runs this season at 55.53, including four hundreds and three fifties. He amassed 524 runs, including two hundreds and two fifties, from eight Ranji Trophy matches. He also struck 110 for Delhi against England XI in a warm-up fixture ahead of the five-match ODI series that was won by India.
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