: Stung by two successive defeats on home soil, the national selectors on Sunday cracked the whip by axing veteran pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and batsman Yuvraj Singh from the squad for the fourth and final Test against England starting on Thursday.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who did not play the last match, also found himself in casualty list as the selectors opted for a leg-spinner in Piyush Chawla and infused young blood by picking Delhi paceman Parvinder Awana and Saurashtra all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
Barring Yuvraj and Zaheer’s omissions, there were no major changes to the squad announced by BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale after a meeting of the Sandeep Patil-led selection panel.
The selectors also announced the team for the two Twenty20 matches to be held in Pune (December 20) and Mumbai (December 22) in which Uttar Pradesh all-rounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Awana were the two new faces. Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan were left out and the Board explained that they were unavailable for the series.
I don’t want to comment on selection issues. No one is happy when the team loses. We are looking into it, we are working on it,” said Jagdale.
Jadeja, a hot property in the IPL, and Awana were rewarded with a berth in the team for their consistent performance in the domestic circuit.
Under pressure to make changes after the debacles in Mumbai and Kolkata, the national selectors, however, refrained from making wholesale changes to the squad.
As a result some of the other non-performing stars retained their places while the two spinners — R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha — despite being below-par have hung on to their places.