Dravid back in ODI squad after two years (Lead)

August 6th, 2011 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh Chennai, Aug 6 (IANS) In a desperate move, the national cricket selectors Saturday recalled the man for all seasons Rahul Dravid to India’s One-Day Internationals (ODI) squad after two years and left out injured Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh for the five-match series against England, beginning Sep 3.

Harbhajan and Yuvraj were injured during India’s huge loss in the second Test at Trent Bridge. Harbhajan, who is also struggling with form, was ruled out of the remaining two Tests against England with abdominal muscle strain while Yuvraj, adjudged player of the World Cup, fractured his left index finger.

Dravid, 38, is in brilliant form with back-to-back centuries against England in the two Tests. He last played in an ODI against West Indies in the Champions Trophy at Johannesburg, Sep 30, 2009.

In 339 ODIs, Dravid has 10,765 runs at an average of 39.43 with 12 centuries.

He led India in the 2007 World Cup, but was dropped from the side following a poor ODI series on return home against Australia. The selectors recalled him to shore up the inexperienced batting line-up during the Champions Trophy in 2009.

His comeback lasted only six matches in which his top score was 76 against Pakistan at Centurion. The veteran batsman was again left out following India’s early exit in the Champions Trophy. Since then he has been out of the ODI scheme of things as India built up a young team who won the World Cup in the subcontinent.

Dravid has been going strong in Tests and he has three centuries in his last five Tests, cracking the first one against West Indies at Kingston, Jamaica, which incidentally happens to be the place where he got his last ODI century in 2006.

With the team faring poorly and the batsmen struggling to play the moving ball, the selectors, led by former opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth, and the team management thought it wise to repose faith in the veteran batsman, who is also supremely fit.

Though many would see Dravid’s selection as a retrograde step, it does raise questions on the technique of young Indian batsmen and their temperament. More so, when the reshuffle takes place within a couple of months of India winning the World Cup.

Yusuf Pathan, Subramaniam Badrinath, Shikhar Dhawan, Manoj Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha, who were part of the victorious ODI squad in West Indies, have all been overlooked.

Sehwag has been named deputy to Dhoni and Parthiv Patel gets the nod as the second wicket-keeper and third opener.

In the absence of Harbhajan, leg spinner Amit Mishra, who took 11 wickets in the West Indies, and offie Ravichandran Aswhin will share the spin attack.

“The best team has been picked in consultation with the coach and captain,” said Srikkanth.

“Yuvraj and Harbhajan are injured and they will have to prove their fitness at the NCA in Bangalore.

“We don’t want to give any excuses for the team’s performance so far in the series. England played better in the first two Tests.

“I am confident that the team will square the Test series and will go on to win the ODI series.”

The squad:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Parthiv Patel.

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