Sehwag still to report fit for England series

July 1st, 2011 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Chennai, July 1 (IANS) The fringe players in the Indian cricket team currently touring the West Indies will probably spend a sleepless night as the national selectors meet here Saturday to pick the squad for the England tour.

With Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan certain to return to the Test squad after a break for rest and recuperation from injuries, another round of chopping and changing has to be expected.

There is still a question mark over the fitness of Virender Sehwag who is recovering from a shoulder surgery, but otherwise he would be an automatic choice.

The debatable points involve the choice of openers and the bowling composition keeping in mind the conditions in England aiding swing and movement.

Thus, the selectors would probably be spending more time on players who will be basically in the stand-by mode rather than certainties in the playing eleven.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gambhir, Sehwag (if fit), Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh straightaway fill the seven spots available for batsmen in the playing eleven, leaving berths for four bowlers and as many reserves.

The likes of seamers Ishant Sharma, who seems to have run into top form in West Indies, and Praveen Kumar would no doubt join Zaheer Khan to complete the first choice new ball attack with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh bringing up the 11.

In such a scenario, there would be only four vacancies for two specialist batsmen and two bowlers, unless the selectors are convinced that Dhoni should have a stand-by wicket-keeper in Parthiv Patel.

By the looks of it, Suresh Raina is likely to retain his berth while one of the two reserve bowling spots might go to Amit Mishra leaving the selectors to decide whether or not to include a second spinner or a fourth seamer.

Likewise, opener Murali Vijay could get another chance should Sehwag be ruled out of the England series.

Historically, the national selectors have always sprung a surprise or two and it is time for a round of guessing.

The first of the four Tests will begin at Lord’s July 21.

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