India have left out three senior players from their list of probables for the Champions Trophy in June this year, opting for several uncapped youngsters in the 30-man squad which will eventually be pruned down to 15. Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, and Harbhajan Singh have been excluded, and the decision is likely to prompt questions over their ODI future.
Sehwag was dropped from India's most recent ODI series, against England at home in January. He was also dropped for the final two Tests against Australia, following poor returns in Chennai and Hyderabad. Harbhajan hasn't played an ODI since June 2011 and also missed the last two Tests against Australia, though he was part of the squad. Zaheer suffered a calf injury during the Ranji Trophy, but had been dropped during the home Test series against England late last year and the subsequent ODIs against Pakistan.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who had an excellent Test series against Australia, during which he also showed his ability to accelerate and score freely in a tricky chase in the fourth Test in Delhi, has not been named. Pujara will be leading the India A side to South Africa, the itinerary for which has not yet been finalised. Should the dates not clash, Pujara could be considered for the Champions Trophy, said a BCCI source, since it's not mandatory for teams to pick their final 15 from the preliminary squad. Pragyan Ojha, the left-arm spinner, who picked up seven wickets in two Tests against Australia and has not been included among the 30 probables, could also be part of that India A squad.
That aside, the focus on youth is evident with the inclusion of uncapped players who've made a mark in recent times. India's Under-19 captain Unmukt Chand, who plays for Delhi, has been named, so has allrounder Parvez Rasool from Jammu and Kashmir, who picked up seven wickets against the Australians in a tour game this year.
Batsmen Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav, known for their attacking approach, are part of the 30-man list, so are wicketkeepers Wriddhiman Saha and Dinesh Karthik. Irfan Pathan, who last played an ODI in August 2012, and Amit Mishra, the legspinner, have also been named. Seamers Ishwar Pandey from Madhya Pradesh, who topped the wicket charts in the Ranji Trophy, and Punjab's Siddarth Kaul, who was next on that list, are the fresh additions in the bowling department. Pandey is joined by his state team-mate, allrounder Jalaj Saxena, who bowls off-spin.
Probables: M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Jalaj Saxena, Parvez Rasool, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Umesh Yadav, Shami Ahmed, Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Praveen Kumar, Ishwar Pandey, Siddarth Kaul.