Virat, Zaheer in squad for Oz, Pujara misses out
Cheteshwar Pujara and Zaheer Khan are set to make their return to cricket after spending months out of action for months following severe injuries.
Pujara (Saurashtra) and Zaheer (Mumbai) will play in the Ranji Trophy tournament for their domestic teams against Karnataka and Orissa respectively.
Cheteshwar Pujara injured his knee during RCB’s 2011 IPL campaign and had to be withdrawn mid-season, subsequently undergoing surgery. Zaheer Khan injured his hamstring on the very first day of India’s tour of England in the Test at Lord’s in July and later was diagnosed with a more serious ankle injury which required surgery and intensive rehabilitation.
Both missed out on substantial India assignments due to their injuries, Pujara missing out on India’s tour of the West Indies, the tour of England, the home Tests against WI; Zak opted out of the tour of West Indies before his injury and missed the remaining series due to it.
Having recovered from their injuries and passed fit to play after substantial rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, the duo will want to impress right away.
Zaheer however has been included in the squad for Australia provisionally; he has to prove his fitness in two Ranji games for Mumbai, against Orissa at Cuttack from Nov 29th and against Saurashtra in Rajkot on December 6th in order to get on the plane to Australia.
Pujara missed out on a place to Australia, Virat Kohli sealing his spot with his two half centuries in the tense draw against the West Indies in the third Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Pujara’s comeback will be against Karnataka at Bangalore on Nov 29th, a match RCB fans could easily attend and cheer him at.
The duo will face off against each other in their second match when Saurashtra will take on Mumbai at their homeground in Rajkot. It will be Zaheer’s second and last shot at confirming his place in the squad for Australia. For Cheteshwar Pujara it will be another match in his competition against fellow Royal Challenger Virat Kohli and India colleagues Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh for a place in the fabled Indian middle order for Tests.
Will the duo succeed? The following few weeks will tell.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Praveen Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan (subject to fitness).