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Sunday, November 21, 2010

India select squads for NZ ODIs and SA series

Wriddhiman Saha at the Knight Riders felicitationSurprise selection!!!
The Indian selectors named two squads yesterday - NewZealand ODIs in India and the South Africa test series overseas. Few surprises there but overall the team has familiar faces as the core. 

The squad for first two ODIs versus New Zealand is:
Gautam Gambhir (capt), M Vijay, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Saurabh Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja. 

The elevation to Gambhir is a recognition of his good work over the years and the confidence the team has on the opener despite his poor run this season. MS Dhoni's request to have a rest has been acknowledged by the selectors while that of Suresh Raina (through his captain) has not been entertained. Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra have been rested for the first 2 ODI matches of the series. Probably at some point of the series, one or two of them might still make a comeback. But, this was on expected lines. These players will also be the ones who might be sent earlier to South Africa.

Yusuf Pathan makes a comeback while Sreesanth is retained due to Nehra's absence. Ashwin gets couple of chances to prove his mettle again. Vinay Kumar seems to have given the impression to the selectors that he is fit for the ODIs more than the test matches. Jadeja continues his presence in the team but a good show by Yusuf will cement the latter's position for the next set of ODIs.

The squad for South Africa Tests has been announced as:
MS Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Jaidev Unadkat, Pragyan Ojha. 
Couple of surprise selections here - Umesh Yadav and Wriddhiman Saha - for the squad embarking on the tour to South Africa. The reserve opener slot goes to Vijay while the middle order reserve slot goes to Pujara. Saha, surprisingly, gets the selection ahead of Dinesh Karthik or Parthiv Patel - probably the regional politics having its say. Jaidev Unadkat has not done so well in the Ranji matches to warrant a selection to the tour ahead of Vinay Kumar and Mithun. Ojha is the reserve spinner on a tour where the expectation would be to play only 1 spinner in the playing eleven. Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma along with Zaheer Khan will form an impressive pace-bowling team in test matches, provided they get their heads straight. This will be one tour the Indians will fancy their chances to win more than one test match (like the last tour).
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