Mumbai: Opener Virender Sehwag and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan on Wednesday returned to a 15-member Indian cricket squad after recovering from injuries even as senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar decided to skip the limited overs tour of Sri Lanka starting 21 July.
Sehwag, Zaheer, along with young pacer Umesh Yadav, had sat out of the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in March due to fitness issues. While Sehwag was nursing back spasms and a shoulder injury, Zaheer and Umesh too had niggles.
Zaheer Khan (L) and Harbhajan Singh.
Tendulkar, who has played only two ODI series since 2011 World Cup and is now a Rajya Sabha MP, made himself unavailable for selection for the Lanka tour which will have five ODIs and a Twenty20 International.
Young Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane has replaced Tendulkar in the side. The other change from the Asia Cup side is the inclusion of left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in place of out-of-form all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
The committee, which picked the squad in a meeting here, also decided to include Umesh at the expense of Praveen Kumar.
“We have the best available team. Sachin is not available. I think it is a very good side which has very strong batting line-up and good bowlers and we are confident that it will do well in Sri Lanka,” chairman of selection committee Krishnamachari Srikkanth told reporters after announcing the squad.
There was no place for feisty off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who endured an indifferent form during the IPL and has now signed up with English county side Essex, as the selectors continued to ignore him while Rahul Sahrma was retained in the side. The team will thus have three spinners on low-bouncing and spinning tracks in Sri Lanka.
The team will also have seven specialist batsmen, four seamers and a wicketkeeper in captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.