India to pick ODI squad on Tuesday
India's national selection panel will give a first indication of its World Cup plans on Tuesday when the selectors sit down to pick the squad for the limited-overs leg of the England tour. The selection committee, chaired by Sandeep Patil, will pick the squad for five ODIs, and a one-off Twenty20, starting August 25.
It will be interesting to see if the selectors reward fringe ODI specialists who were tried out at the higher level over the last couple of months. Barring a few regulars like Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane, the squad to Bangladesh for three ODIs comprised mostly the domestic and IPL performers. And the same lot was given an extended run during India A's recent tour of Australia, which culminated with a triumphant campaign in the quadrangular one-day competition.
The selectors have closely followed the progress of the A team in Australia: while Rajinder Singh Hans watched the two four-day games from the sidelines, he was replaced by Vikram Rathour for the quadrangular series.
The selectors will have to decide if Raina, Robin Uthappa and Cheteshwar Pujara - none of whom had a memorable outing in Bangladesh - deserve to remain in contention for the World Cup. Uthappa, the star of the IPL, was one of only two India players to have scored a fifty in Bangladesh. Even though he shone with his captaincy skills during the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia, Uthappa had a mediocre outing with the bat. He scored 134 runs from seven innings during the tournament.
It also remains to be seen if the selectors reward fringe performers, and rest a key bowler like Bhuvneshwar Kumar whose fitness is being stretched during the five-Test series in England. Umesh Yadav, one of the stars of the first-class matches on the A tour, is likely to earn his place back in the squad.
Sanju Samson impressed with his sound technique and temperament during the A tour, including the team management. But he will have to compete with the in-form Naman Ojha if the selectors decide to include a wicketkeeper-batsman as back up for MS Dhoni.
The spin duo of Akshar Patel and Parvez Rasool has been consistent both in Bangladesh and Australia. But their chances depend on the balance of the squad, which will be finalised after discussing it with Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher. Both Dhoni and Fletcher are likely to join the meeting from Manchester via video conferencing.
The balance of the squad would also determine the fate of Manoj Tiwary, the perennial nearly man of Indian team. Tiwary had a decent run in Australia and has also showed his prowess with the ball, picking a five-for in one-dayers.
One player who is certain to retain his place in the side is allrounder Stuart Binny. The Karnataka allrounder registered the best figures by an Indian in the second ODI in Bangladesh, which was followed by a Test debut in England.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo