Chennai, May 27: India were today forced to field a depleted squad for next month's Test series against the West Indies after an injured Gautam Gambhir and an ill Yuvraj Singh were left out of the 16-member squad which has Abhinav Mukund as the lone new face.
Sachin Tendulkar, who was not part of the ODI team, has opted out of the Test series as well leaving India without the services of as many as five top players given that opener Virender Sehwag and pacer Ashish Nehra are already out injured.
Suresh Raina was named captain of the ODI team in the absence of Gambhir, who aggravated a shoulder injury while playing in the IPL.
The opener's injury led to a heated club vs country debate and he was criticised for playing through with an injury that he originally picked up during the World Cup.
Shikhar Dhawan and Manoj Tiwary have been named replacements for Gambhir and Yuvraj for the lone Twenty20 and five-match ODI series starting June 4.
“Gautam Gambhir will be unavailable for the full tour of the West Indies, on account of his shoulder injury. Yuvraj Singh will also be unavailable for the full tour. He is suffering from an upper respiratory infection, with a small patch of pneumonitis in the left lung,” the BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.
Tamil Nadu opener Mukund was the lone new face in the squad announced after a marathon meeting of the selection committee which lasted more than two hours here.
Tendulkar, who was not part of the ODI team, requested that he be allowed to spend time with his family.
“He will therefore not play the Test series. However, he will be available for the full tour of England, that follows,” the BCCI said.
The Test team to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni has no major surprises as the 21-year-old Mukund was expected to make the cut in the absence of Gambhir.
Mukund, an aggressive left-handed opener, was rewarded for his consistent performance in the domestic circuit where he has scored 3446 runs in 40 matches with an unbeaten 300 being his highest score.
The squad has seven specialist batsmen, four pacemen, three spinners and two wicketkeepers with Parthiv Patel being the reserve stumper.
But with regular openers Gambhir and Sehwag not in the line-up, the team will lack experience at the top of the order. Murali Vijay and his Tamil Nadu teammate Mukund may be handed the responsibility of opening the batting.
VVS Laxman, who has been named vice-captain of the Test squad, and Rahul Dravid return to the fold to provide the stability in the middle-order. In Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, the Indians have two promising batsmen who can take up the load.
Zaheer Khan, who was rested for the ODI series will spearhead the pace attack which also has Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel in its ranks. Harbhajan Singh will be the senior spinner in the squad with Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha as his backup.
The squad: M S Dhoni (Captain), V V S Laxman (Vice Captain), M Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, S Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel. PTI