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Game for Raina, Ashwin; Viru may be rested

Last updated on: March 19, 2011 17:05 IST

Raina looks set to play against Windies

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Bikash Mohapatra in Chennai

Changes are expected in India's squad for their final Group B World Cup match against the West Indies, at the M Chidambaram stadium, on Sunday.

- Sammy laments Windies letting 'key moments slip'

In all likelihood, Suresh Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin, who haven't yet featured in the campaign, will be given a look in ahead of Yusuf Pathan and either Ashish Nehra or Munaf Patel.

Though captain MS Dhoni refused to confirm the same on the eve of the match, he, nonetheless, dropped enough hint.

"The team arrangement will be such that everyone in the team should have played at least one game going into the knock-out stages," he said.

With both S Sreesanth and Piyush Chawla getting opportunities to play before, it leaves only Raina and Ashwin to get a game ahead of the knock-out rounds.

While Raina's inclusion is more on expected lines that of Ashwin might just be a means to appease growing demands.

With Chawla failing to make the most of the opportunities he has had, it is certain that Ashwin will partner Harbhajan and play his first World Cup game in front of his home crowd.


Image: India's Suresh Raina (L) stands in front of a misting fan as teammate Piyush Chawla looks on during a practice session in Chennai
Photographs: Reuters
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'Playing two spinners is definitely an option'

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The success of the two English off-spinners -- Graeme Swann and James Tredwell -- bowling in tandem -- against the West Indies at the venue should also prompt India to go with a similar option.

The captain, on his part, gave a clear hint that the team think tank is deliberating the possibility of going into the match with a twin spin attack.

"Playing two spinners is definitely an option," said Dhoni, adding, "the wicket has assisted the spinners in the past and should do so again."


Image: R Ashwin
Photographs: Getty Images
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Virender Sehwag may be rested

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As regards the batting, though Virender Sehwag was deemed fit to play earlier, he has aggravated his injury.

The opener is not ruled out yet by any means though. He was seen practicing at the nets. However, with the match becoming academic now, the team think tank might just be temped to give him extra rest.

"Viru has an allergic reaction in his right knee," explained Dhoni, adding, "We'll take a call regarding his inclusion before the game."

Coming to Team India's performance thus far, Dhoni and his men have only flattered to deceive, dropping points in both their supposedly crucial matches in the group.

While all they could manage against England was a tie, the home team suffered a humiliating defeat to South Africa. No points for guessing that they would like to go to the next stage on a winning note.

"It was a good learning curve for us," admitted Dhoni, taking about the two vital matches where his team dropped points.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar during a training session in Chennai
Photographs: Reuters
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'It's good that it has happened to us in the league phase'

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"If you don't finish off things, a good start to the game doesn't matter," he continued, adding, "it is good that it has happened to us in the league phase and not in the knock-out stages."

With South Africa hammering Bangladesh in Mirpur, qualification for the knock-out stage from the group is settled.

Consequently, it has given India the option to carry out their final experiment with a different combination.

And that is precisely what they will look to do against the West Indies come Sunday.


Image: Ms Dhoni during a practice session in Chennai
Photographs: Reuters
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