As expected, MS Dhoni has returned from a self-inflicted “rest” and has been selected as captain of the Team India ODI side to take on Sri Lanka after the conclusion of the Test series.
Ishant Sharma has been “rested” for the Sri Lanka ODIs, but will return for the Champions Trophy. Munaf Patel, who has been picked for the Sri Lanka tour, will only play in Sri Lanka.
Parthiv Patel has been included as MS Dhoni’s understudy for the Sri Lanka tour. However, Parthiv Patel will return to India after the Sri Lanka ODIs and will not take part in the Champions Trophy.
Is this then and indicator to Parthiv Patel playing instead of Dinesh Karthik in the 3rd and final Test between Sri Lanka and India? Time will tell.
As expected, Sachin Tendulkar comes back into the side that played the Asia Cup. He will most likely open the innings with Virender Sehwag, with Gautam Gambhir at #3. The Gambhir-Sehwag combination will need to wait a while before exploding in ODIs!
Interestingly, no vice-captain has been announced!
Suresh Raina / Virat Kohli
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt)
Harbhajan Singh / Pragyan Ojha
Praveen Kumar / Munaf Patel
Zaheer Khan / RP Singh
Parthiv Patel (drinks!)
Yusuf Pathan gets the flick! It is unfortunate, but perhaps understandable! He did not really set the ground alight. But the man has enough potential to bounce back into reckoning.
Piyush Chawla has also been shown the door. Now, Chawla, who bowled quite brilliantly in the ODIs in England last year and in Australia earlier in 2008, was quite rudely exposed when bowling to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup. He would probably benefit from refining his trade. With Harbhajan Singh returning to the fold like the prodigal son, and with Pragyan Ojha seizing his Asia Cup opportunities, it is appropriate, perhaps, that Chawla cools his heels a bit.
Another player that has been shown the door is Robin Uthappa. Once again, the case could be made that he perhaps did not deliver on the many opportunities he has been afforded. In his place, Virat Kohli comes in, on the back of his U-19 exploits and his strong showing in the recently concluded Emerging Players Tournament in Brisbane. S. Badrinath, who also had a strong Emerging Players tournament, would be perhaps justified in feeling a bit desolate at being overlooked — again!
Given the combination that the team has gone with, unless one of Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh sit out (quite unlikely), India will go in with only 4 mainline bowlers — possibly Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh! Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh will need to bowl out the 5th bowlers quota. This lack of balance has always been India’s weak suit — especially considering that Irfan Pathan is one of these 4 frontline bowlers! If any of these 4 bowlers has an an off day — and Irfan Pathan can have them easily — the bowling can get taken to the cleaners!
The tough alternative would be to replace Suresh Raina with a bowler. It is unlikely that the team would do that, particularly after Raina’s good showing in the Asia Cup!
Interesting days ahead…