Flexi-plans for team india

Ravindra Jadeja and Praveen Kumar called up for Lanka tour as selectors prefer all-rounders

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published:January 19, 2009 12:06 am

Despite India’s 5-0 win over England,the national selectors have made a couple of changes in the squad for the upcoming limited over series against Sri Lanka beginning later this month.

Virat Kohli and Harbhajan Singh are the two names missing from the squad of 15 for the last one-day international against England in Cuttack. Filling in for the two are all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and pacer Praveen Kumar.

This means the team will have seven frontline batsmen,including captain and stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni,three all-rounders and four pace bowlers,while they go in with just one specialist spinner — Pragyan Ojha.

Jadeja’s name had been doing the rounds for making an India debut after his phenomenal show in the Ranji Trophy this season — 739 runs and 42 wickets — but it’s Praveen’s inclusion that comes as a surprise. The UP pacer was dropped for the series against England and had an ordinary domestic season thereafter,taking just 17 wickets from seven matches. To make matters worse,Praveen finished with just one wicket in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy final.

Despite his all-round abilities,the only doubt about Jadeja’s inclusion was the presence of another left-arm spinner in the side — Ojha. But Harbhajan Singh’s hamstring injury made things easier for the selectors,and now the touring party has three left-arm spinners including Yuvraj Singh.

Options for the skipper

As the selectors swapped the specialists — Kohli and Harbhajan — for two more all-rounders Praveen and Jadeja,Dhoni will surely have extra options in his kitty as the squad attains more flexibility.

With Irfan Pathan retaining his place in the side at the expense of RP Singh,there were a few murmurs about the selectors having their way again. Interestingly,RP’s ouster after the first of the three ODIs against England had triggered reports of a confrontation between the skipper and selectors.

Though the BCCI didn’t mention it in as many words,RP’s exclusion this time looked more because of the injury sustained in the Ranji final. The left-hand medium pacer didn’t bowl in Mumbai’s second innings after hurting his shoulder. Irfan,on the other hand,had been among wickets in the Ranji Trophy — 26 wickets in four game.

The team will leave for Colombo on January 26,and the players will have a short net session a day before at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Squad

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk),Sachin Tendulkar,Virender Sehwag,Gautam Gambhir,Yuvraj Singh,Suresh Raina,Rohit Sharma,Yusuf Pathan,Zaheer Khan,Ishant Sharma,Munaf Patel,Ravindra Jadeja,Praveen Kumar,Irfan Pathan,Pragyan Ojha.

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