New Delhi: India's selectors have retained the 15-man squad from the first Test against West Indies for the second match, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Harbhajan Singh was again ignored following the excellent work done by spinners Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin, who shared 16 wickets in India's six-wicket win at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Harbhajan, 30, had been dropped from the ODI team last month and his axing from the Test side following a poor run of form – he managed only two wickets in 69.4 overs against England at an average of 143.50 and economy-rate of 4.11 – was not surprising. Harbhajan's case for a recall was further dampened when he failed to take a wicket while leading his state Punjab in their opening match of the current Ranji Trophy season, against Uttar Pradesh in Mohali.
Ojha, back in the Test team after a year's absence, excelled in his role as leader of the spin attack taking six wickets in West Indies' first innings. However, it was debutant Ashwin who stole the show with nine wickets, including six in the second innings as India roared back into the contest. His efforts deservedly earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.
Asked after the victory as to whether he felt Harbhajan had a chance of being recalled for the remaining two Tests, India’s captain MS Dhoni had said: "Let's see. Ojha did well and Ashwin was Man of the Match in his debut match."
Yuvraj Singh, making a comeback after a lengthy injury lay-off, was retained in the squad despite managing scores of 23 and 18 at the Kotla. Suresh Raina, who scored an unbeaten double-century for UP in their draw with Punjab, was overlooked as was Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who recently returned from a five-month absence for an injury sustained during the fourth season of the IPL. The two batsmen are the frontrunners for a spot in the Test middle order after Yuvraj and Virat Kohli, already in the squad.
The squad has eight specialist batsmen, three spinners and three fast bowlers, with Dhoni the lone wicketkeeper.
India won the first of the three-match series at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday. The second Test begins in Kolkata from November 14.
India squad: M S Dhoni (capt/wk), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Virat Kohli, Varun Aaron, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Sharma.