Bhajji, Dinda set to return

Colombo: There was a distinct spring in Harbhajan Singh's step on Saturday. Perhaps, it had everything to do with his comeback, which is set for Sunday at the R.Premadasa Stadium.

It's not official, however.

Harbhajan last played for India over a year ago, before getting injured and losing his place to Ravichandran Ashwin.

According to The Telegraph's sources, Ashok Dinda will also be making a return to the XI.

Unless there's a change of plan, Zaheer Khan and Ashwin are going to be rested in the World Twenty20 match against holders England.

Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, who'd skipped Friday's nets, were present during the day's optional session. Later, both told this Reporter they were feeling "fine."

Virender Sehwag is understood to be fit, too. He got hit by a local quick on Friday. In keeping with his 'style', the senior pro wasn't anywhere near the optional nets.

The quick, Sachin Peiris, had initially been reluctant to bowl on Saturday. But did so after being persuaded by the gentleman who'd drawn up the local bowlers' roster.

India and England have both qualified for the Super Eights. The tournament's structure is such that winning or losing won't affect who plays whom in the next stage.

However, as there's so much emphasis on momentum, there can't be anything better than advancing to the Super Eights with an all-win record.

While India were stretched by Afghanistan, England thrashed the Nawroz Mangals. But much need not be read into the big difference in the margins (23 runs vis-a-vis 116).

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni labelled England's performance as "good." He'd been brutally frank about his own team's show versus Afghanistan ' "we were not up to the mark."

Even on Saturday, Dhoni was rather blunt: "There are quite a few areas we need to improve in and we need to focus on them."

Stuart Broad, the England captain, said: "India have a powerful batting line-up... But one thing I will say ' if we play like we did against Afghanistan, the way we went about things, the passion and the energy we showed on the field, then we are going to be in a good position."

Former India captain Rahul Dravid, in his new avatar as a studio expert on TV, predicted a "close game between evenly-matched sides".

Given the uncertainty over the weather, batting second is bound to have advantages.


India (likely): Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ashok Dinda.

England (likely): Craig Kieswetter, Alex Hales, Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Samit Patel, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach.

Match starts: 7.30 pm (IST)


Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.