MUMBAI // Indian selectors have retained the services of the former captain Saurav Ganguly in a 15-player squad named today for the first two games of the four-Test series against Australia starting on Oct 9. Ganguly, 36, had been under pressure to keep his place as the elder statesman of the team's four veteran batting stalwarts, along with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Vangipurappu Laxman.
The selectors also included the middle-order batsman Subramaniam Badrinath, who has played three one-dayers for India, and the leg spinner Amit Mishra as back up for the captain Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. The pair replace batsman Rohit Sharma and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha from the side which lost the previous Test series in Sri Lanka, 2-1. The wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also returns for the upcoming Tests after skipping that series.
The first Test will be played in Bangalore from Oct 9 with the second game of the four-match series starting in Mohali on Oct 17. New Delhi and Nagpur stage the last two matches. Meanwhile, the Australia leg spinner Bryce McGain will miss next week's first Test against India because of a shoulder injury, a team spokesman said today. The uncapped 36-year-old had been included in the absence of seasoned spinners. "He bowled in the nets yesterday (Tuesday) and felt some pain," the Australian team spokesman Matthew Slade said. "He won't be available for at least two weeks." McGain suffered the injury during last month's Australia A tour of India but had hoped to regain fitness before the series. The Australian selectors will decide whether McGain should stay with the squad or return home. The Off-break bowler Jason Krejza is the other specialist spinner in the squad while the vice-captain Michael Clarke is an occasional, but useful, left-arm slow bowler.