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Tendulkar rested; Zaheer, Sehwag return for SL tour

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: July 04, 2012 16:19 IST
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As expected veterans Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan made a comeback to the Indian squad that will play five One-dayers and a Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka later this month.

However, Sachin Tendulkar opted out of the five-match ODI series, starting July 21.

Manoj Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane, who impressed during the last edition of the Indian Premier League, also made it to the 15-member squad, as did pacer Ashok Dinda and leg-spinner Rahul Sharma.

Pragyan Ojha, who replaced out-of-form all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, is the third spinner in the squad, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, with Virat Kohli the vice-captain.

Ajinkya RahaneThe Krishnamachari Srikkanth-led selection committee, which met in Mumbai on Wednesday, also replaced Praveen Kumar with Zaheer's pace understudy Umesh Yadav.

Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan also failed to retain their places in the squad that was knocked out in the group stages of the Asia Cup after losing to hosts Bangladesh.

Harbhajan Singh, who endured indifferent form during the IPL, was ignored.

The Indians will thus go in with three tweakers on the low-bounce, spinning tracks of Sri Lanka.

Tendulkar, now a Rajya Sabha member, was a part of the squad for the Asia Cup, in March, India's last ODI assignment, during which he completed his 100th international century.

"Tendulkar is unavailabe for this series and he wants to start from the New Zealand series at home," said Srikkanth, after the meeting.

"It is a long season ahead and I think we will come back to winning ways. Sachin wants to extend his career. He must be aiming at England and Australia [series later this year]. He is spacing it out very well," he added.

He also informed that Kohli will continue as vice-captain, despite the return of the experienced Sehwag, who has led the side when regular captains were unavailable.

"Virat Kohli has been appointed vice-captain; the idea is continuity. Virat got brilliant hundreds after becoming vice-captain which shows that he likes responsibility," explained Srikkanth.

"He has done well as the vice-captain and you all remember the two wonderful centuries that he scored. And keep the future in mind, we also had to groom someone," he added.

The ODIs will be played between July 21 and August 4, while the one-off Twenty20 international is on August 7.

Indian team for SL ODIs: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Zaheer Khan, R Vinay Kumar, R Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Manoj Tiwary, Umesh Yadav, Rahul Sharma, Pragyan Ojha.

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Harish Kotian