India pick three spinners for World Cup
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was joined by left-armers Ravindra Jadeja and young Akshar Patel in a 15-man squad announced in Mumbai for the showpiece event from February 14 to March 29.
Jadeja was selected despite being treated for a shoulder injury that forced him out of the ongoing Test series in Australia. Patel, 20, has claimed 14 wickets in nine one-day internationals so far.
“Jadeja is doing wonderfully well in his recovery process and we are hopeful he will be fit in 10 days time,” Indian cricket board secretary Sanjay Patel told reporters.
The squad includes just four players — Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Ashwin — who were part of the winning team in 2011.
The selectors ignored Yuvraj Singh, the man of the tournament in 2011, who was not in the preliminary 30-man squad, but came into reckoning with centuries in three consecutive first-class matches.
Teams are allowed to select players from outside their preliminary pool, but the 33-year-old Singh’s absence from the one-day team over the past year due to poor form went against him.
The nucleus of the squad is the same which helped India win the Champions Trophy one-day tournament in England in 2013.
There was no place for opening batsman Murali Vijay, one of the few Indian players to emerge with credit from the Australia Test series with 402 runs in the first three matches at an average of 67.00.
Vijay, 30, played the last of his 14 one-day internationals in July 2013.
Rohit Sharma, who hit one-day cricket’s highest score of 264 against Sri Lanka last November, will open the batting with left-hander Shikhar Dhawan, despite both faring poorly in the Tests.
The squad includes seven batsmen, three spinners and five seamers in Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and all-rounder Stuart Binny.
The same players, along with two extra new-ball bowlers Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma, will take part in the one-day tri-series with England and Australia starting on January 16.
India are drawn in pool B of the World Cup alongside Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, United Arab Emirates, Ireland and Zimbabwe. The top four in the pool will advance to the quarter-finals.
Dhoni’s men begin their campaign with a mouth-watering clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in Adelaide on February 15.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Akshar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Stuart Binny. (AFP)