Tendulkar, Gambhir, Bhajji rested for ODI tri-series

Pacers Mithun, Ishant included in 15-member squad

Tendulkar, Gambhir, Bhajji rested for ODI tri-series

A file picture of Sachin Tendulkar. He was rested for tri-angular match to be held in Sri Lanka from August 10.

In view of the quantum of cricket that lies ahead, the national selectors on Saturday chose to rest senior cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh, as well as Gautam Gambhir, for the triangular series beginning in Dambulla on August 10.

Tendulkar had widely been expected to return to the limited-overs scheme of things after missing India’s last two 50-over competitions, but the stiff groin that kept him off the park during Sri Lanka’s second innings on Friday in the SSC Test forced a rethink and necessitated his resting, mainly as a precautionary measure.
Tendulkar, however, is certain to play in the third Test beginning at the P Sara Oval on Tuesday.

Both Tendulkar and Harbhajan are part of the Mumbai Indians team that will play in the Champions League in South Africa from September 10 to 26. Should India make the triangular final in Dambulla on August 28, they would have had just over ten days’ time to rush to South Africa for the Champions League, almost immediately on the back of which is a hectic schedule at home.

India play two Tests and three one-dayers against Australia starting in the first week of October, which will be followed by three Tests and five one-dayers against New Zealand. Then, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men are scheduled to travel to South Africa for a full tour that will end in January, just before the World Cup.

Keeping this heavy line-up, and Tendulkar’s groin, in mind, the selectors have chosen to give the experienced duo time off from the game, while also leaving out Gambhir, recuperating from a right knee injury that kept him out of the second Test. Dhoni said on Friday that Gambhir has recovered sufficiently and was ‘raring to go’ in the third Test beginning on Tuesday; his omission too has to be perceived as a precautionary move with rest and recuperation in mind.

Tendulkar and Gambhir’s absence has opened the door for Yuvraj Singh, who would otherwise have struggled to make the cut, to stake his claims all over again.

There are few surprises otherwise in the squad of 15, Abhimanyu Mithun’s impressive run in the Tests earning him a recall to the one-day squad ahead of Ashoke Dinda and Karnataka mate R Vinay Kumar. A shoulder injury has continued to keep Zaheer Khan out, facilitating Ishant Sharma’s return to the one-day team for the first time since last December.

Tamil Nadu off-spinner R Ashwin, currently in Brisbane with the India ‘A’ squad for the Emerging Players’ tournament, benefits from Harbhajan being rested, and will fly out from Australia to Colombo alongside Saurabh Tiwary, who too retains his place first earned during the Asia Cup. Their places in the India 'A' side will be taken by Dinda and exciting Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey respectively.


The squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Kaarthick, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Saurabh Tiwary, Ashish Nehra, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun.

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