Dravid all set to make ODI return

Injured Sehwag unlikely to figure in the squad

The former skipper hasn’t played a 50-over game for the country since October 2007, dropped as he was after a couple of failures that came after a sustained spell of attractive run-scoring.

That he was left out in the series immediately following his decision to stand down from the Indian captaincy seemed to suggest then that cricketing matters alone hadn’t been the only deciding factor.

The need to bring Dravid back into the one-day format has largely stemmed from the less than impressive performances of the younger lot against the short ball, both in the World T20 in England in June and then in the rain-affected one-day series in the Caribbean on admittedly docile surfaces. The likes of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina struggled to cope with the rising delivery time after time, revealing technical inadequacies that are bound to be feasted upon by oppositions around the world.

Dravid will bring with him a serene, composed presence that is so essential when the going gets tough. All but deprived of the services of Virender Sehwag, Mahendra Singh Dhoni should welcome the return of his predecessor with open arms. Not only will the Bangalore right-hander at three provide substance and solidity, he will also embolden Dhoni himself and Yuvraj Singh to bat freely, feeding off the confidence that a man with 10,585 one-day international runs from 333 matches is bound to inspire.

Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten too will attend the meeting on Sunday, and while the selectors will listen keenly to what the duo has to say, they must make their own judgement. After all, that was how Dravid was picked in the initial 30-man list of probables for the Champions Trophy. It will, too, hardly be doing the selectorial college any credit if they include a man of Dravid’s stature, calibre and credentials in the list of probables after a gap of nearly two years, and then don’t pick him in the final touring squad.

Yet to recover fully from shoulder surgery in June, Sehwag is a huge selection risk for the Champions Trophy. Should he be picked in the final 15 and not be found fit, the ICC will not allow a replacement because he was already injured and didn’t pick up the injury in the period post the announcement of the team.

Zaheer Khan’s unavailability, also due to a shoulder surgery, could pave the way for a return to the one-day side of Munaf Patel, left out of the one-day series in the West Indies. There are, however, unlikely to be too many surprises, and no more than one or two selections -- or omissions -- that will trigger a debate.

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