Allrounder Ravindra Jadeja who is still recuperating from a shoulder injury, and young left-arm spinner Axar Patel have been included in India’s 15-member squad for the cricket World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand next month. Allrounder Stuart Binny also made it to the team but unfortunately there was no place for Murali Vijay and Robin Uthappa in the squad, announced by BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel after a selection committee meeting on 6th January.
The five-man selection panel also ignored Yuvraj Singh, who was not in the list of the 30-member probables but had come into consideration after his 3 back-to-back hundreds in the Ranji Trophy. Opener Shikhar Dhawan, who has been struggling in the recent past specially in the Test series against Australia, has also been retained in the squad for the high-profile event to be held from February 14 to March 29.
The squad captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni has no major surprises with the selectors opting to go with four specialist pace bowlers — Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav — bearing in mind the fast & bouncy wickets in Australia and New Zealand.
The 20-year-old Axar Patel, who has made quite a good impression in the few ODIs he has played, was expectedly picked in the squad, since Jadeja’s fitness could be a concern. The selectors have taken some risk in picking Jadeja in the squad but Patel exhibited confidence that the all-rounder will be fully fit before the biggest cricket tournament. “Jadeja at present is undergoing rehabilitation programme. He is doing wonderfully well. We had detailed discussion with BCCI physio (on his inclusion) and we are confident that he will return to training within 10 days,” Patel said on Jadeja’s fitness.
Patel said Yuvraj’s name was contemplated upon but they decided against selecting him. “Not only Yuvraj Singh but other names were also discussed apart from the 30 probables. There were deliberations between five selectors and captain Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher were on the conference call,” Patel said.
India World Cup Squad: MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Stuart Binny, Umesh Yadav.
The selectors also announced the team for the tri-series to follow the Test matches in Australia. Hosts Australia, India and England will compete in the tri-series. Apart from the 15 selected for the World Cup, Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma have been added.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane will perform the role of an opener while Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rayudu and Dhoni will bat in the middle order. The squad has three spinners in R Ashwin, Patel and Jadeja though it is highly improbable that more than two spinners will be in the playing XI during the matches. Despite the struggles of Dhawan, especially in the Tests, the selectors have placed faith in the left-handed opener. About Ishant’s injury, Patel said: “Ishant Sharma has a knee injury. He’s doing well but was advised by the BCCI Physio to not play the fourth Test. He has a knee related problem some water retention,” Patel said.
Team for ODI Tri-series: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Stuart Binny, Umesh Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma.