India have left out experienced off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for their forthcoming Test series in Australia, retaining faith in left-armer Pragyan Ojha and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Ashwin and Ojha performed outstandingly during India's recent 2-0 series win over the West Indies, Ashwin taking nine wickets and scoring a century in the final Test while Harbhajan has not featured since India were beaten 4-0 in England.
Left-arm quick bowler Zaheer Khan is also pencilled in to make a return to international cricket subject to proving his fitness following an injury lay-off.
With Yuvraj Singh facing time on the sidelines as he battles a non-malingnant lung tumour, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma will compete for the number six spot in the batting line-up with Kohli the favourite to start after scoring twin half-centuries in the Mumbai Test.
Along with Zaheer, Praveen Kumar is selected to make his return having missed the West Indies series to add experience to the bowling attack, which also includes Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron.
Wriddhiman Saha travels as the reserve wicket-keeper to captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The four-match series begins on Boxing Day (26th December) in Melbourne.
India Test series: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan (subject to fitness), Praveen Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Pragyan Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin
© Cricket World 2011
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