Virat Kohli, who led India to victory in the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, has earned a surprise call-up to the national squad for the ODIs against Sri Lanka as well as for the Champions Trophy. Mahendra Singh Dhoni returns to take charge of the team after pulling out of the ongoing Test series while Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan are back in the squad. Ishant Sharma has been rested for the Sri Lanka ODIs and will return for the Champions Trophy, with Parthiv Patel and Munaf Patel missing out.
Robin Uthappa, who has been in indifferent form, has been dropped along with Piyush Chawla and Yusuf Pathan. The selectors also decided against including Sreesanth, with Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, saying that he needed to "prove himself in domestic cricket."
It has been a steady rise for Kohli, who, after making his debut for Delhi in the 2006-07 season, came into national prominence during India's triumphant U-19 campaign in Malaysia. An attacking batsman in the mould of Virender Sehwag, Kohli finished the the tournament with 235 runs at 42.16. He then joined the Bangalore Royal Challengers for the Indian Premier League, but his performances were below-par. Kohli staked his claim for national selection by becoming the second-highest run-getter for the India in the recently concluded Emerging Players Tournament in Australia.
Zaheer is back after a nine-month absence; he last played for India during their home ODIs against Pakistan in November, while Tendulkar returns after he missed the Kitply Cup in Bangladesh and the Asia Cup to recover from a groin injury.
The first of the five ODIs against Sri Lanka will be held on August 18 in Dambulla.
Squad for Sri Lanka ODIs
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Pragyan Ojha.
Squad for Champions Trophy
Same as above...
In: Ishant Sharma.
Out: Parthiv Patel, Munaf Patel