BCCI to announce ODI squad

The national selection committee will meet on Sunday to choose the Indian cricket squad for next month's triangular ODI series in Australia.

updated: January 20, 2008 08:13 IST
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The national selection committee will meet on Sunday to choose the Indian cricket squad for next month's triangular ODI series in Australia with the biggest dilemma facing it whether to recall former captain Rahul Dravid.

The team is expected to be named in the later part of the day.

The other major problem confronting the five wise men would be the composition of the pace bowling department which has been weakened by the heel injury-induced absence of spearhead Zaheer Khan who is not available for the series as well as the one-off Twenty20 international against hosts Australia preceding it on February 1.

Dravid lost his place in the one-day squad controversially after a string of poor scores against Australia in the home series preceding the one against Pakistan, but since then has opened in Tests Down Under and seems to have rediscovered a bit of his wonted form.

More importantly the lack of form of Yuvraj Singh, to accommodate whom Dravid was asked to open Down Under in Tests, has left a huge hole in the middle order as men-in-form Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are expected to open the innings while another middle order Test mainstay VVS Laxman is no longer in the selectors' radar for the 50-over-a-side game.

Virender Sehwag, who has opened the innings in the ongoing Perth Test with some success, has also come back into the reckoning for the ODIs.

The selectors would surely be tempted to give back Dravid his one-day slot, especially with young middle order batsmen Robin Uthappa and Rohit Sharma have not exactly been in peak for in domestic cricket.

However, Uthappa and Sharma are expected to be included though players like S Badrinath, Manoj Tiwari, Suresh Raina and Cheteshwar Pujara are likely to be discussed for possible selection along with a dark horse like Parthiv Patel.

From the present five-man pace battery in Australia, rookies VRV Singh and Pankaj Sharma are expected to return home along with Test captain Anil Kumble, who has already retired from the one-day game, and Laxman.

Reserve 'keeper Dinesh Karthik, who had lost his place in the ODIs, could also be in that list.

If he's fit pacer S Sreesanth, sidelined from the Test series in Australia because of a shoulder injury, and third opener Gautam Gambhir are expected to board the flight to Australia along with left-arm spinner Murali Karthik. But there's a question mark over right arm pacer Munaf Patel.

Uttar Pradesh medium pacer Praveen Kumar, who was part of the ODI squad against Pakistan and played in the Jaipur ODI, has given a timely reminder to the selectors of his abilities with his splendid 8-68 haul in the Ranji Trophy final against Delhi.

RP Singh, who has been in splendid form in Australia, exciting young talent Ishant Sharma and all-rounder-in-the-making Irfan Pathan are near-certain to retain their spots and form the core of the pace department.

Only three selectors are to be present in Mumbai for the meeting - Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Jagdale and Bhupinder Singh - while their colleagues Venkatapathi Raju and Ranjib Biswal - are in Australia currently.

The discussion among the selectors, with one-day skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in attendance in Australia, would be done over the telephone.