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    Three-way battle for Praveen's slot

    Irfan Pathan will be a front-runner to take over the injured Praveen Kumar

    Irfan Pathan will be a front-runner to take over the injured Praveen Kumar's slot for the Tests in Australia. (Getty Images)

    Ahmedabad: Irfan Pathan, Abhimanyu Mithun and Ashok Dinda will be have awaiting their fate with baited breath when the national selectors decide on Praveen Kumar's replacement for the four Test series against Australia starting from December 26.

    According to BCCI sources, the selectors will also be looking at Umesh Yadav's replacement for the last two one-day internatinals (ODI) against West Indies as the speedster is all set to leave on December 8 with the first batch of players.

    While Abhimanyu Mithun who has been a steady domestic performer is the frontrunner to replace Kumar, Irfan has forced his way back in the reckoning after a superb show in the Ranji Trophy grabbing 21 wickets in four matches with a 7-wicket haul against Delhi.

    The swinging deliveries into the right-hander is back and the seamer looked in nice rhythm although the pace may still be around the mid-120 kmph mark. The added advantage will certainly be his batting and experience of playing in Australia during India's last tour in 2007-08.

    Mithun, who is currently in the ODI squad, can be called the team-management's first choice replacement for Kumar. He has been a steady performer although there has been a sharp decline in his pace since the time he burst on to the domestic scene back in 2009-10.

    Ashok Dinda will certainly be the dark horse and is a possible candidate to replace Yadav for the last two ODIs after his 12-wicket haul in the last Ranji Trophy match against Haryana at Rohtak.

    Dinda's pace is an advantage if one thinks about Yadav's direct replacement. Also having twice toured Down Under with the Emerging Side makes him a contender for Praveen's slot.