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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sachin back for ODIs

Sachin Tendulkar is back to play ODIs after 10 months, so is Zaheer Khan, but no one seems bothered.

As chairman Krishnamachari Srikkanth stepped out of the national selection committee meeting on a lovely Pongal evening, he was bombarded with bitter queries over India's abject failure Down Under.

"Sitting in Chennai, it is difficult for me to pinpoint a particular reason behind the failure...The next (Test) series is in September. If Laxman decides to retire, I cannot say anything," a flustered Chika was clearly not his composed self.

He, of course, agreed that the batting has been a complete failure.

"We are totally devastated... Definitely our batting has failed consistently throughout the series," the chairman said, adding that he can take the blame on himself for the mauling, even though "it's a collective failure with six players with 8000-10,000 runs failing on a consistent basis".

And that meant that if he had harboured any hopes of trying any new combinations in the tri-series in Australia starting from Feb 5, it went out of the window.

Zaheer and Sachin - the bowling a batting pillars respectively - will have to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that the team comes back in March after the tri-series with some pride intact.

With a string of ODIs at home after this, will this be the duo's last in limited-overs competition? The query was left unanswered for now, but something may come out in the course of the next one month.

The squad that was selected for the tri-series was on predictable lines, the only surprise was the inclusion of a 17th member in an ODI squad.

It was quite evident that the panel was in no mood to take any chances as they included three spinners (R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Rahul Sharma) for a series in Australia.

With Irfan Pathan, too, in, India will have the luxury of two bowling all-rounders (Jadeja being the first), and it's to be seen whether the under-pressure MS Dhoni can accommodate five bowlers in the playing XI.

On the batting front, with Yuvraj Singh opting out, Manoj Tiwary was rewarded for his excellent show against West Indies on a difficult Chepauk pitch while the rest of the unit consists of the tried-and-tested ones like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Dhoni.

The acid test for Dhoni's captaincy, though, starts from here. It's his success in ODIs that has still allowed him to retain the captain's armband, but indications are that if India don't do well in the tri-series, the axe may come down pretty soon.

But for now, the selectors gave him the team he wanted, even with an out-of-form Parthiv Patel getting the nod as the second stumper.

The squad: MS Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag (Vice-Captain), Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan.



Curtsey:  Times of India






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