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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Raina, Dhoni lead second strings to West Indies

Raina, Dhoni lead second strings to West Indies

Last updated on: May 27, 2011 20:10 IST

Eight of the top players to miss tour

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Bikash Mohapatra

In giving another validation to the club-versus-country debate, India is virtually sending a second string squad to the West Indies.

With the players playing throughout the year, injury worries were palpable and it is the West Indies fans who will suffer as a result.

With the players playing the World Cup and Indian Premier League back-to-back, it was expected that some would seek a break.

Keeping in mind the all-important tour of England, that commences soon after, most key players have opted to rest during the period. Thus, eight of the top players will now be missing the not-so-important tour of the Caribbean.

While captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra had been rested for the one-day series, of them only Dhoni and Zaheer will return for the Tests.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Reuters
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'Confident this team will do well in Windies'

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"We took into account all the inputs, including new coach Duncan Fletcher's, and selected the best possible team," announced Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the chairman of selectors in Chennai, following the selection committee meeting.

"When injury happens, you have to give rest to the injured players," he said, adding, "I am confident this team will do well in the West Indies."

As widely speculated, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh will give India's tour of the West Indies, beginning June 4, a miss.

Gambhir has a shoulder niggle and Yuvi a lung infection; both will use the time off to recuperate ahead of the all-important tour of England.


Image: Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: Reuters
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Tendulkar opts out of Tests

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Shikar Dhawan and Manoj Tiwary have been drafted in as the replacements for Gambhir and Yuvi respectively for the one-dayers, while Virat Kohli and Abhinav Mukund make the Test squad.

Meanwhile, Sehwag also won't be available for the Tests and Murali Vijay has been included in that slot.

Tendulkar opted out of the Test series as well. The Master Blaster had already been rested for the one-dayers and excused himself from the longer version as well to spend more time with his family.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Reuters
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Raina to lead ODI team

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Suresh Raina will lead the team in the lone T20 international and the following five-match one-day series.

This will be Raina's second assignment as captain following that ill-fated trip, with another second-string squad, to the tri-series in Zimbabwe.

Harbhajan Singh will be his deputy.

Dhoni will return to lead the Test team and veteran VVS Laxman will be his deputy.

While the absence of key players gives the likes of Vijay, Mukund, Kohli and Badri a chance to impress the selectors, it certainly doesn't guarantee success.


Image: Suresh Raina
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
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Bowling attack looks balanced

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In fact, the batting, comprising so many newcomers, suddenly seems fragile. Besides, Dravid and Laxman, and to an extent Dhoni, there's hardly much experience in an aspect that is considered India's strength.

The bowling attack looks far more balanced in comparison, with all the Test regulars making themselves available.

While the selection has raised more questions regarding the club-versus-country debate, whether this team will manage to thrash the West Indies (as expected) remains to be seen.

Test team: MS Dhoni (captain), VVS Laxman (vice-captain), Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, S Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel.

The ODI and T20 squad: Suresh Raina (captain), Harbhajan Singh (vice-captain), Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, S Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, R Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan.


Image: Munaf Patel
Photographs: Reuters
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