WI tour selection: Rayudu's wicketkeeping ability makes his case even stronger
Tamil Nadu batsman S Badrinath and pacer Praveen Kumar are expected to get call-ups when the national selectors meet in Chennai on Friday to pick India's ODI squad for the tour of the West Indies, amid indications that a few seniors will be rested.
While Ishant Sharma is tipped to return to the one-day fold, young Ambati Rayudu is also a strong contender for a berth in the squad for the ODI and Twenty20 series, beginning June 4.
It is still not clear how many seniors will be rested for the shorter version. Whatever be the scenario, Rayudu, who has so far scored 349 runs from 10 games with a strike rate of nearly 120, has a good chance to board the flight to Caribbeans.
"His (Rayudu) wicketkeeping ability is another advantage for him. With Robin Uthappa not doing well, Rayudu's case is even more stronger.
"Whether Dhoni takes rest or not, Rayudu can be considered a second 'keeper in shorter versions as Indian teams over the years have always had a second option while touring the Caribbean," a BCCI source said.
Image: Ambati Rayudu
New coach Fletcher to attend the selection meeting
Dashing opener Virender Sehwag has been ruled out, as he will undergo shoulder surgery that will keep him out for at least four to six weeks.
Sachin Tendulkar and pacer Zaheer Khan are likely to be rested to ensure that they are fresh for the subsequent Test series.
There is also speculation that captain Dhoni may be rested for a few matches of the ODI series. Gautam Gambhir, in that case, could be named captain.
The selection meeting, to be attended by newly-appointed coach Duncan Fletcher, will no doubt take note of the performance of some of India's young guns in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
The names of Kings XI Punjab opener Paul Valthaty, Kolkata Knight Riders' batsman Manoj Tiwary and spinner Iqbal Abdulla and Pune Warriors' leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, who has an astonishing economy rate of less than six through 10 matches, are likely to come up for discussion.
Image: Ishant Sharma
Badri has brought an attacking flair in his style of batting
Badrinath had a fantastic Ranji season, scoring a whopping 922 runs at an average of 131, and followed it up with 294 runs in the IPL so far, at a strike-rate of 135.
The talking point in the cricket fraternity is how Badrinath, who was known for a dogged approach, has brought an attacking flair in his style of batting.
He and Michael Hussey are the batting mainstays for Chennai Super Kings.
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary, who is also in good form this year, having scored 277 runs, is another candidate, but can be termed a 'dark horse'.
Manoj's selection, however, depends on how many among the seniors back out for the five ODIs (from June 6 to 16) and the T20 (June 4).
Image: S Badrinath
Praveen Kumar is an automatic choice
Among the bowlers Praveen Kumar is an automatic choice. And, if Ashish Nehra fails to recover in time, Ishant will form the core of the pace trio that will also have Munaf Patel.
While off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin select themselves, it is unlikely that leggie Piyush Chawla will retain his place.
Chawla's show in the IPL has been as disappointing as his World Cup campaign.
Lanky Punjab lad Rahul, who has been a revelation, is favourite after his big-hearted show against superior batsmen. His economy rate of 5.16 over 10 matches is brilliant, to say the least.
If the selectors prefer a left-arm spinner, then pint-sized Abdulla will fight it out with the experienced Pragyan Ojha.
While Ojha has disappointed in the IPL, Abdulla carried his good all-round form for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy into the T20 extravaganza, claiming 13 wickets, at an average of 6.10 runs per over.
Image: Praveen Kumar