Virender Sehwag has been rested from India's one-day squad for next month's Asia Cup, with Virat Kohli taking over as vice-captain. Sachin Tendulkar has been picked for the tournament, while allrounder Yusuf Pathan and Bengal fast bowler Ashok Dinda make comebacks. Fast bowlers Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav have been rested.
Kohli's elevation to vice-captaincy comes after his sustained run of success in one-day cricket. He was the highest run-getter in the format in 2011, is the leading run-scorer in the ongoing Commonwealth Bank series and has been one of India's few bright spots on the dismal tour of Australia. "The selection committee and board feels that Virat Kohli could be good future captaincy material," Kris Srikkanth, the chairman of selectors, told reporters in Mumbai.
Over the past few days, there had been intense media speculation about whether Sehwag and Tendulkar would be selected for the Asia Cup. Sehwag has had a poor run in the ongoing CB series in Australia, averaging 13 in five one-day innings.
Srikkanth stressed that Sehwag had not been axed. "Unfortunately Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan have been asked to take rest by the physiotherapist. It is purely on injury grounds both have been rested," he said. "I can assure you that nobody has been dropped."
Tendulkar has been selective about the ODI series he plays over the past couple of years. The CB series, in which he's made 143 runs in seven innings, was his first limited-overs engagement for India since last year's World Cup.
The CB series is also the only ODI series the injury-prone Zaheer has been involved in since the World Cup. The decision to rest him and Yadav opened the doors for Dinda, who last represented India in the previous edition of the Asia Cup, in 2010. His selection comes on the back of a successful Ranji Trophy, in which he was the second-highest wicket-taker with 37 in six matches. Several other contenders for a fast bowling slot, including Varun Aaron and Sreesanth, are still recovering from injuries.
Allrounder Yusuf has recovered from a knee injury which cut short his Ranji season, and will resume his battle for the No. 7 allrounder's slot with Ravindra Jadeja. Yusuf has been out of the Indian side since a listless tour of West Indies soon after being part of the World Cup-winning squad. Jadeja cornered that spot with some impressive performances against England and West Indies last year, but has not been at his best in the CB series. In the league phase, he took three wickets at an average of 109, and scored 101 runs in seven innings.
Among the fringe players, India have retained batsman Manoj Tiwary and legspinner Rahul Sharma, but have axed backup wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
India are defending champions of the Asia Cup, which will be held in Mirpur from March 11 to 22 and also features Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.