Ishant to replace injured Praveen for ODI series

January 11th, 2011 - 9:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Durban, Jan 11 (IANS) The five-match one-day India-South Africa cricket series beginning here Wednesday is the last opportunity for the two countries to test their players before finalising their World Cup squads.However, both teams are struggling to keep their players free from injuries before the mega event kicks off in the subcontinent Feb 19.

India are without their key openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir for the ODI series and now Praveen Kumar has joined them with an elbow injury.

The team management thought it prudent to rest Kumar in view of the World Cup and he has been replaced by Delhi fast bowler Ishant Sharma.

Ishant, who returned home after the Test series, will be flying out to join the squad.

S. Sreesanth is also doubtful for the opening game as he is nursing a hand injury.

The series will also provide Yuvraj Singh an opportunity to cement his place in the side after losing his place in the Test squad and a poor trot in the ODIs. India would like the flamboyant batsman to strike form.

It will also be a big test for Rohit Sharma, who was flown in to replace Gambhir. Rohit made a big impact with a fluent half-century in the Twenty20 match and would like to make a case for the World Cup selection.

All eyes will be on Suresh Raina, too. The left-handed batsman showed great promise last year but questions are being raised over his technique against short-pitched bowling.

Spinners Ravichandran and Ashwin Piyush Chawla will be looking to make an impression on the selectors to join Harbhajan Singh in the World Cup squad.

South Africa will be missing their injured batsman Jacques Kallis, but they have enough firepower to challenge India.

Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Hashim Amla are all proven match-winners.

Speedsters Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel showed their mettle in the Test series and would be breathing down the Indian necks again, with promising left-armer Wayne Parnell joining them as the third seamer.

Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir, 31, is expected to make his debut and will be closely watched.

Teams (from)

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Sachin Tendulkar, Murali Vijay, Yuvraj Singh, R. Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, S. Sreesanth.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers (wicketkeeper), Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Colin Ingram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

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