Virender Sehwag and Munaf Patel, as expected, make a comeback to the Indian squad as Niranjan Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, announced the 15-man squad for the first two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka. There was also a place in the squad for Sreesanth, on top of the twelve that played the last match against West Indies at Baroda.
When asked if this was the squad that would also go to the World Cup, Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors, suggested that it was close to what the selection committee and the team management had in mind, but did not completely rule out the possibility of changes. Vengsarkar indicated that the team for the World Cup would "probably" be selected from this fifteen plus Ramesh Powar, Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir, the three to miss out from the current selection.
"He needed a break because he was not in good form," Vengsarkar said of Sehwag. "He has gone back and worked on his batting. I hope he does well in his comeback, whether he bats and No.4, 5 or 6." At the same time, Vengsarkar did not rule out the possibility of Sehwag opening the batting, saying it was the team think-tank who decided on the batting order. However he did strongly suggest that the selection committee "wanted Sehwag to bat in the middle-order."
Shah revealed that Munaf had been "cleared" of his fitness troubles, and was declared fully fit by John Gloster, the physiotherapist of the Indian team. Munaf last played for India in a Test against South Africa.
There has been some concern over Sreesanth's economy rate in one-dayers. In the last series against West Indies, he picked up two wickets at 73 apiece, at an economy rate of 7.82. "Sreesanth needs to work on his length a little bit. In Test matches, where the ball is doing a bit, it's ok to bowl full," said Vengsarkar. "But in one-day cricket, especially in Indian conditions where the ball is not moving in the air or off the pitch, he needs to adjust his length."
The selection committee met at the new offices of the BCCI at the Wankhede Stadium, along with Greg Chappell, the coach, and Rahul Dravid, the captain. The only absentee was SLV Raju, the South Zone representative on the selection committee, as he was back home in Hyderabad as a result of a bereavement.
Shah also announced that the team for the final two one-dayers, along with the team for the World Cup, would be picked in Mumbai on February 12.
Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, R Uthappa, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Virender Sehwag, Sreesanth