Dravid makes surprise ODI comeback
Rahul Dravid has made a comeback into India's limited-overs plans, after two years out of the side. The injured Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh are the notable omissions in the squad for the five-match ODI series and the only Twenty20 international against England.
Dravid, who has over 10,000 runs in the ODI format, was a regular in the Indian side for most of the last decade. He was dropped from the team following a poor home series against Australia in 2007, but was recalled to bolster an inexperienced line-up in the lead-up to the Champions Trophy in 2009. His second coming lasted only six matches, and he was axed again following India's early exit in that tournament in South Africa. He didn't figure in India's successful World Cup, but has had a good run in Tests since, including three centuries in five matches.
Yuvraj and Harbhajan both picked up injuries in India's crushing defeat in the second Test at Trent Bridge, ruling them out of action for four and three weeks respectively. Chief selector Kris Srikkanth confirmed that the senior duo was left out on fitness grounds, addressing speculation that Harbhajan may have been dropped.
Harbhajan has been dogged by poor form since the World Cup, both in the West Indies and in England, before contracting an abdominal strain at Trent Bridge. He managed only six wickets in four ODIs in the West Indies, and was overshadowed by legspinner Amit Mishra. Harbhajan's form dipped further in the Tests that followed, as he picked up five wickets in the first two Tests, though there was an improvement in the third Test in Antigua, where he returned match figures of 6 for 101. He has struggled for impact in England, picking up a wicket apiece in the first two Tests.
Yuvraj hasn't played an ODI for India since winning the Man-of-the-Tournament award at the World Cup. He missed the West Indies tour with a lung infection, but scored a half-century on his return to the national side at Trent Bridge before enduring a fractured finger on his left hand in the second innings. Yuvraj's other World Cup-winning team-mates, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, made their ODI comebacks.
Sreesanth, who returned to the Test side for England after missing out on the West Indies tour, was left out again, while R Vinay Kumar kept his ODI spot as the back-up seamer. Zaheer Khan, as expected, returned to the one-day scheme of things after sitting out of the West Indies tour. Ashish Nehra, who picked up an injury that kept him out of the World Cup final, remains on the sidelines.
Parthiv Patel, who opened the batting and kept wicket in MS Dhoni's absence in the West Indies, also retained his place as the second-choice limited-overs wicketkeeper. But there was no place for allrounder Yusuf Pathan, who had a poor World Cup and failed in the West Indies. Manoj Tiwary, Shikhar Dhawan and S Badrinath, who toured the Caribbean in the absence of the regular batsmen, missed out this time.
Squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Parthiv Patel (wk), Amit Mishra, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar