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Jadeja stakes strong claim for Australia Tour; Shami, Ishant, Vijay in fray too

Last updated on: December 18, 2015 15:07 IST

Jadeja should be back in the ODI squad after six months

India will play five ODIs and three T20 internationals in Australia

Ravindra Jadeja

IMAGE: India’s Ravindra Jadeja, left, and Virat Kholi. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Back in form with an impressive performance against South Africa in the recently-concluded Test series, Ravindra Jadeja is likely to make a comeback when the national selectors meet in New Delhi on Saturday to pick India's squad for the upcoming limited-overs series in Australia.

India will play five ODIs and three T20 internationals in Australia, the first game starting on January 12.

Three other players who could be under spotlight are fit-again pacer Mohammed Shami, senior-most pacer Ishant Sharma and veteran batsman Murali Vijay, who has started batting in the middle-order in One-dayers for Tamil Nadu and could be a back-up opener for the out of form Shikhar Dhawan.

The selectors will pick the squad, to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, keeping the ICC World T20 in mind, although at least 12 players are automatic picks in both the formats.

With 23 wickets in his comeback against the Proteas, along with crucial runs (109 runs), Jadeja should be back in the ODI squad after six months. The 27-year-old Saurashtra all-rounder is likely to beat Axar Patel for the second spinner's slot, Ravichandran Ashwin being an automatic choice.

Ishant Sharma, who has had a good season as strike bowler in Test matches, is likely to get the nod in the limited-overs' format after nearly a year's gap. He was being considered for the limited-overs' series against South Africa, but pulled a hamstring during a Ranji match and was rested keeping in mind the Test series.

The other highlight of the selection meeting in Delhi could be the selectors' take on whether to include Mohammed Shami in the squad.

Shami, who had undergone knee surgery after World Cup, has just made a return to competitive cricket in the Vijay Hazare trophy.

He had played two matches, returning figures of 2-52 in 10 overs against Uttar Pradesh and 1-40 in eight overs against Madhya Pradesh.

In the case of Shami, it will mainly hinge on whether he is fit for selection and not about form, as he is considered an asset by both the team management and the selectors.

With the Indian bowlers being taken to cleaners in the limited-overs series against South Africa, Shami's return on Australian pitches will give the inconsistent pace attack the much-needed boost.

Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma are the pacers in contention apart from Shami and Ishant, which will make it five-pronged attack for the bouncy Australian conditions.

The third spinner could be a debatable issue as it will be a three-horse race between Harbhajan Singh, Patel and Amit Mishra.

Harbhajan had a decent ODI series against South Africa, claiming six wickets from four matches, at an economy rate of 5.30.

With lack of choices for seamer all-rounders, Stuart Binny may again get the not despite nod having any great performances to write about.

Ambati Rayudu's form has dipped since last year and Murali Vijay, with scores of 25, 35, 55, 44 in the middle-order, could get a look-in.

Also the fact that he can open the innings will be taken into account by the selectors.

India's batting line-up more or less selects itself with Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and Dhoni being automatic choices in this format.

If it is a 16-member squad then Gurkeerat Singh Mann could be the additional batsman.

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