Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan have been 'rested' from India's 15-man squad for the Asia Cup, even as Yusuf Pathan and Ashok Dinda have earned recalls to the national team because of their strong performances in domestic cricket. Sachin Tendulkar, who has been struggling to score his elusive 100th international century for almost a year, has decided to play in only his second one-day tournament since the 2011 World Cup.
Sehwag, whose 219 is the highest score in ODIs, has struggled in the ongoing Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia scoring only 65 runs in five innings; while Tendulkar has scored 143 runs in seven matches at an average of 20.42.
Kris Srikkanth, the chairman of selectors, clarified that no player had been dropped. "No one has been dropped. We were told by the team physiotherapist that both Sehwag and Zaheer have suffered niggling injuries," Srikkanth told reporters after the selection committee finished its meeting in Mumbai today afternoon. He added the decision to rest Sehwag, Zaheer and Umesh Yadav was taken after the team management in Australia told the selectors the three players needed a break.
Virat Kohli, who smashed a belligerent 86-ball 133* and led India to an unexpected seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at Hobart on Tuesday, has been named vice-captain. "We have to look at the future and that's why Kohli has been made vice-captain," Srikkanth said.
India, who are the defending champions of the Asia Cup, which will be held in Bangladesh from March 11-22, also retained Manoj Tiwary and Rahul Sharma but reserve wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel was axed. Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja have retained their place in the squad despite unimpressive performances in the CB Series.
Yusuf, who played the last of his 56 ODIs on the tour of the West Indies in June 2011, has recovered from a knee injury that he sustained while playing for Baroda in the 2011-12 Ranji season. On Sunday, Yusuf made his case for being included in the Asia Cup squad with a 78-ball 114 for Baroda against Saurashtra on Sunday in his team's penultimate match of the West Zone leg of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He is expected to battle with Jadeja for the No. 7 all-rounder's slot in the team.
Dinda, who has played five ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals, last played for India in June 2010. He forced his way back into the national team after finishing as the second-highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy with 37 scalps in six matches.
Squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Virat Kohli (vice-capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda.