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Tendulkar for SA ODIs; Chawla surprise inclusion

Last updated on: December 21, 2010 20:07 IST

Uttar Pradesh leg-spinner Piyush Chawla is the surprise inclusion in India's squad that will take on South Africa in the one-off Twenty20 and five-match ODI series, which starts on January 9.

Apart from Chawla, regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, senior-most player Sachin Tendulkar, dashing opener Virender Sehwag and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh -- all of whom opted for rest during the New Zealand ODI series are back in the side.

Incidentally, the South Africa ODI series is India's last assignment before the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent.

With a last chance to settle the core team before the World Cup, one can rest assured that most of the players who will play against South Africa will be in the World Cup squad too.

Chawla's inclusion means that the selectors want to check out what's in store in the slow bowling department after their experiment with Ravindra Jadeja failed to paid rich dividend.

Also surprising was Parthiv Patel's non-inclusion in the ODI squad. He scored back-to-back half centuries against New Zealand after being given chance in the shorter form after six-and-half years. There is no second wicket-keeper in the team.

Among those with the Test squad currently, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Jadhav and Jaydev Unadkat will be boarding a flight back home.

In-form Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan also returned to the side to bolster India's batting department after sitting out of the Test matches.

The Indian pace department will be spearheaded by Zaheer Khan, who missed the first Test against South Africa due to an injury.

S Sreesanth also retained his place in the fast bowling department, which will have Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel.

In the spin department, Harbhajan will share duties with Ravichandran Ashwin.

All-rounder Jadeja was left out of the team, while Yusuf, who impressed during the home series against New Zealand, retained.

Middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma and Saurabh Tiwary, both of whom played in the ODI series against New Zealand, also failed to make the cut.

The squad comprises six batsmen, one wicketkeeper in Dhoni, one all-rounder in Yusuf and eight bowlers – five quicks and three spinners.

Squad for Twenty20 and ODI series: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, R Ashwin, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, S Sreesanth.