Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dada, Dravid dropped from ODIs

Former India captains Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly have not been included in the squad for the tri-nation CB Series, which starts on February 3 in Australia. Neither is there place for V.V.S. Laxman in the Indian squad for the tri-series in Australia. The team was announced at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Sunday. Robin Uthappa and Rohit Sharma, who did not enjoy a great Ranji season, are still retained in the squad, maybe because the selection committee is looking to provide a platform for youngsters who can field well and lift the team effort in one-day cricket. The squad also carried the suggestion that ODI skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni wished to retain the combination that won the Twenty-20 World Championship in South Africa last year.

Explaining the reason of exclusion of the two former captains, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said, “The emphasis was on fielding abilities. They wanted a young fielding side for the series. That’s why you see a lot of youngsters in the team.” Three Uttar Pradesh players Piyush Chawla, Suresh Raina and Praveen Kumar are in the squad. Praveen, who claimed eight wickets in the Ranji final, joins the bowling department manned by R.P. Singh, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan and S. Sreesanth who has been declared fit after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Young Piyush Chawla got the nod above experienced Murali Kartik while Harbhajan Singh will be another spinner for India. Virender Sehwag who opened in the Perth Test after getting a century in the practice match in Canberra has booked his place in the team. Dinesh Karthik, who was in the Test squad, has also been retained for one-dayers.

Delhi opener Gautam Gambhir who captained the current Ranji champion team and has 738 first class runs in his kitty this season is also in the squad. Manoj Tewari, Munaf Patel and Yusuf Pathan will be on standby.