Trio boost India for Tests

2010-10-25 13:04

New Delhi - India were on Monday boosted by the return of three key players for the three-Test home series against New Zealand starting next month.

Opener Gautam Gambhir, veteran batsman Venkatsai Laxman and seamer Ishant Sharma, who all missed the second Test against Australia in Bangalore due to injuries, were included in the 15-man squad.

Gambhir and Sharma suffered knee injuries, while Laxman was troubled by back spasms which he picked up during a match-winning 73 not out in the first Test in Mohali.

India enhanced their reputation as the world's top-ranked Test team by winning the first match by one wicket and the second by seven wickets to sweep the short series 2-0.

The return of Gambhir and Laxman creates a selection headache -- albeit a nice one -- for the hosts ahead of the first Test against the Black Caps in Ahmedabad from November 4.

Opener Murali Vijay, who came in for Gambhir, hit a maiden Test century (139) in Bangalore, while Cheteshwar Pujara marked his debut as Laxman's replacement with a fluent 72 in the same match.

The second Test will be played in Hyderabad from November 12 and the third in Nagpur from November 20.

Daniel Vettori's New Zealand are also due to play five one-day internationals from November 28 to December 10.

India's Test squad:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

Coach: Gary Kirsten (RSA).