Dravid returns, as expected; Mishra back

Dravid returns, as expected; Mishra back

Raina recalled while Rohit, Ojha get the axe for tri-series in Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy

Dravid returns, as expected; Mishra back

Veteran Rahul Dravid on Sunday staged a comeback into India’s 15-member one-day squad while Virender Sehwag was ruled out of next month’s tri-series in Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

The 36-year-old Dravid, who last played a one-dayer in October 2007, will be joined in the squad for the two tournaments by batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra was included in place of left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the squad announced by BCCI secretary N Srinivasan.

There were no major surprises in the team. Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar was retained but his Ranji team-mate Rohit Sharma was axed to accommodate Suresh Raina, who had skipped the West Indies tour because of a thumb injury.

The selection committee, headed by Krishnamachari Srikkanth, met at the Chidambaram stadium to pick the squad for the September 8-14 tri-series in Sri Lanka and the September 22-October 5 Champions Trophy, and went by the fitness level of the players and their performances in the recent past.

In Sehwag’s absence, Tendulkar is set to open with Gautam Gambhir, while Dravid and Raina will add beef to the top and middle-order, which also includes vice-captain Yuvraj Singh and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Sehwag’s absence allows Dinesh Karthick to hang on to his place as a reserve opener.
In the bowling department, Mishra stages a comeback to the one-day format after six long years to join Harbhajan Singh in the spin unit.

A regular in the Test squad now, Mishra played the last of his three one-dayers back in April 2003 against South Africa.

In the pace bowling department, India will sorely miss spearhead Zaheer Khan, who is out of both the tournaments following a shoulder surgery.

In his absence, the onus will be on Ashish Nehra, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and RP Singh to step up to the plate and perform.

The Indian players will have a four-day training camp at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore from August 27. The camp is expected to focus on both physical conditioning and skills before the players disperse on August 30 to participate in the BCCI Corporate Cup.

Srikkanth said he and his colleagues have picked the strongest possible squad, capable of winning the Champions Trophy.

“This is the best possible Indian team and we are confident that they would go on to win the Champions Trophy,” he told newsmen.

Srikkanth felt there was enough balance in the side. “We are happy with the squad.
“It’s a very balanced team and we wish them all the best for the Champions Trophy,” the former Indian opener added.

The team

MS Dhoni (capt)
Yuvraj Singh (vice-capt) Sachin Tendulkar
Gautam Gambhir
Rahul Dravid
Suresh Raina
Harbhajan Singh
Yusuf Pathan
RP Singh
Ishant Sharma
Dinesh Kaarthick
Ashish Nehra
Abhishek Nayar
Praveen Kumar
Amit Mishra

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