Selectors pick three spinners for India’s World Cup squad

Monday, January 17, 2011

CHENNAI - India’s cricket selectors Monday ignored middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma and fast bowler Sreesanth, but included three spinners in the 15-member squad for the World Cup starting Feb 19 in the sub-continent.

The exclusion of Sharma came as a major surprise as selectors picked both off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, ahead of left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.

Despite injuries to Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and medium pacer Praveen Kumar - all four were picked up as the selectors are confident the players will be fit in time for the Cup ties.

Baroda pacer Munaf Patel, who helped India to a series-levelling victory over South Africa Saturday, has found a place as the fourth seamer.

Krishnamachari Srikkanth, chairman of the selection committee, justified the inclusion of three tweakers and said spinners will play a major role in the World Cup.

“Spinners will play a major role in the sub-continent. That’s why we have picked up three spinners in the squad. I hope this team will match the performance of the 1983 World Cup winning team,” he said after the squad was announced.

“I am hopeful that we will win the World Cup. This team has some great players and we have done well consistently, both in India and abroad,” Srikkanth said.

The World Cup will be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India open their campaign against Bangladesh in Dhaka Feb 19.

Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag (vice captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin and Piyush Chawla.

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