The Indian selectors have made a strategic move for the forth coming England’s tour to India scheduled in October. The announcement on Thursday stated that Harbhajan had been dropped for the first two ODIs of the five-match series against England starting October 14. The 31-year-old with over 400 test wickets declared himself fit for the series against England but the selectors persisted to infuse new blood in to the team with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
The India squad is missing several key names for the series, which begins in Hyderabad, with Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma all ruled out after picking up injuries on the ill-fated tour of England.
Chief selector Krish Srikanth said Dhoni and new selector Jimmy was present at the meeting, where a very balanced side was chosen. He added we have selected the team just for the first two ODIs and after the Delhi match we will select the team for next matches. We have big series coming up against West Indies followed by the tour of Australia. The team announced now has young spinner Rahul Sharma and paceman Sreenath Aravind the two new faces in India's depleted 15-member squad.
The first ODI of the five-match series will be played in Hyderabad, while Delhi will host the second game on October 17. Mohali (Oct 20), Mumbai (Oct 23) and Kolkata (Oct 25) will stage the other three matches. Kolkata will also conduct the lone Twenty20 match against England on October 29. The team: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, R Vinay Kumar, Sreenath Aravind, Rahul Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Praveen Kumar.
Meanwhile former India captain Kapil Dev on Thursday backed the selectors decision to drop senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh from the squad for the first two ODIs against England next month.
Towards criticism on statistics he said, everyone knows Sachin has 99 centuries. But how many know that how many of these matches have ended in victories? Everyone knows Gavaskar has scored 34 Test centuries? But can anyone tell how many matches he has saved for the team? Out of Sachin's 99 hundreds, 60 have ended in victories. If anyone reports that I'll be happy. He added we have to change our mindset. If we lose the match what's the use of statistics. To hell with that!