Ganguly gets the nod

Sourav Ganguly has received a reprieve ahead of India's tour of Pakistan with the former skipper given a spot on the 16-man squad as well as a central contract for the next year.

Ganguly, who has been at the centre of a dispute with new coach Greg Chappell, was dropped ahead of the third Test against Sri Lanka last week.

Chief selector Kiran More said Ganguly was brought back to strengthen the middle order.

"Sourav has a lot of runs behind him and since Pakistan is a tough tour, we thought we could make the middle-order strong by bringing him back," he told the BBC.

"He was always in the scheme of things and we had only been trying others against Sri Lanka, which is not a very strong Test team."

Left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan has been recalled but batsman Mohammad Kaif and spinner Murali Karthik have been left out.

"Kaif has done well but his experience does not match with that of Sourav," More said.

Ganguly, who India to historic Test match and one-day series victories on the last tour to Pakistan in 2004, said he was delighted to be back in the fold.

"I am very happy to be back like any other player would be. I am hoping we perform well in Pakistan," he said.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq welcomed back his old foe.

"They have announced a very balanced, strong and experienced touring squad for the Tests," Inzamam, who led Pakistan to a recent Test and ODI series victories over England, said.

"Sourav is an experienced campaigner. I think they are counting on him to deliver in Pakistani conditions. The only thing in our favour is that our boys are confident after beating England and are in form."

India will play three Tests and five limited-overs internationals in Pakistan.

India squad: Rahul Dravid (capt), Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Wasim Jaffar, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, RP Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni (wkt), Parthiv Patel (wkt).

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