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Uthappa, RP Singh to play in third ODI

Last updated on: May 14, 2007 13:00 IST

India will field Robin Uthappa and RP Singh for the third and final ODI against Bangladesh in Chittagong on Tuesday, leaving out left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan and injured S Sreesanth for the inconsequential match.

"Zaheer and Sreesanth are not in the 12. RP Singh and Robin Uthappa will play," India captain Rahul Dravid told reporters in Chittagong on Monday.

India captain Rahul Dravid also announced that Uthappa would bat at the number three position, a slot Mahendra Singh Dhoni occupied in the first two ODIs.

Sreesanth is struggling after sustaining a calf injury during the second one-dayer in Dhaka on Saturday.

"We are monitoring Sreesanth's fitness. He won't recover for tomorrow's match, but we are trying our best to make sure that he recovers for the first Test. There is not much gap also, so we will try our best. In these conditions, we will make sure that he is fully fit before he plays," Dravid added.

Uthappa batting at number three would mean that the out-of-form Virender Sehwag would get another opportunity.

Dravid continues to back the Delhi opener, who has crossed the fifty-run mark only once in his last 11 one-dayers. The lone big innings came against the lowly bowling attack of Bermuda in the 2007 World Cup, when he smashed 114.

"Definitely for someone of Sehwag's calibre we truly do believe that he should go all the way and play bigger innings. He is getting starts and he is not carrying on. That is definitely something we know that Sehwag should do. Sehwag himself knows that he must start converting those starts into meaningful contributions for the team," the Indian captain said.

Dravid also seemed very keen to make it a clean sweep, which they failed to do in their last tour to the country in 2004-05.

"We are very keen [to make it 3-0]. That was one of our goals when we started the one-day series to win it 3-0. We still have one game to play and that still remains our target. We will take nothing for granted," he said.

But Dravid believes they will not get complacent and try to post a convincing victory in the final one-dayer to get a huge moral boost ahead of the Test series.

"I don't think we can assume that [it will be 3-0]. We had to play very good cricket to make it 2-0 and we will continue to do that. We will nothing take anything for granted."

He also asserted that the inclusion of Uthappa and Singh is not an experiment, but more of a forced move.

"It is not really an experiment. Sreesanth is injured, Zaheer Khan obviously has been bowling a lot and we need to keep him fresh for the Test matches. In some ways we are just trying to show you how important Test matches are and we have to have our best team for the Test matches now that we have won the ODI series," Dravid said.

The weather could play a major hindrance on Tuesday.

It has been raining since early Monday morning in Chittagong and the signs don't look good as far as Tuesday's match is concerned. The locals believe that despite the ominous clouds hovering above, there could be some play on Tuesday.

"It has been very interesting weather. Sometimes it has been raining and at times it has been hot. I hope we can get a 50-over match. We would like to play a full cricket match and that gives us a chance to give some experience to our players," Dravid said.

The Indian captain also hinted that he would continue to bat lower down the order and give players like Yuvraj Singh more opportunities.

"We are just trying to get some of the other guys like Yuvraj whom I always felt for a while now need to be batting up the order and taking on a lot more responsibility. Hopefully they can kick on and establish themselves in those positions so we can have options in various conditions.

"It might change in conditions, we might abroad and if the wickets are seaming or doing a bit then it might be the case of me batting up the order in those conditions."

With a steady drizzle outside, the Indian team opted for a light indoor session at the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium.

Bangladesh will miss vice captain Mohammed Ashraful, who was ruled out of the match with fever. Ashraful had to be hospitalised on Saturday night and the Bangladesh selectors are now hoping that he recovers in time for the first Test.


India (From): Rahul Dravid (c), Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, M S Dhoni, Dinesh Kaarthick, Dinesh Mongia, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar, Munaf Patel, R P Singh.

Bangladesh (From): Habibul Bashar (c), Javed Omar, Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Musfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Russel, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mohammad Rafique and Farhad Reza.

Umpires: Ashoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Enamul Haque Moni (Bangladesh).

Third umpire: A F M Akhtaruddin

Fourth umpire: Jahangir Alam.

Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)

Harish Kotian in Chittagong