India`s ODI squad to be announced on Sunday
Chennai: Pacers Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan are expected to return to the Indian squad for next month`s tri-series in Australia when the national selectors meet in Chennai on Sunday to pick the team.
It will also be interesting to see whether the selectors name senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan in the 16-member squad for the tri-series, which will have Sri Lanka as the third team, and the two T20s against Australia.
Both Tendulkar and Zaheer have not played any ODIs since the World Cup final in April last year but with back-to-back whitewash on cards, the selectors may want their most experienced batsman and bowler to play the shorter format.
Yuvraj Singh who is recovering from his non-malignant lung tumour and Harbhajan Singh who sustained a shinbone injury are yet to get fully fit and would not be considered for selection.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary appear to be automatic choices among the batsmen. If Tendulkar decides to play ODIs, then Ajinkya Rahane will be dropped as it would not make sense to have four specialist openers.
Although Parthiv Patel is favourite to get the second wicketkeeper`s slot, the selectors may just discuss Madhya Pradesh`s Naman Ojha`s name. Though his wicketkeeping has not been great, Ojha however has scored 668 runs in Ranji Trophy this season with three centuries and two 50`s to his credit.
Offie Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja are automatic choices for the two spinners slot.
Among the pacers Praveen Kumar, who was out with a rib injury, is likely to come back as he has been bowling regularly in the practice games at the National Cricket Academy.
Umesh Yadav is also expected to retain his place as the fast bowler has impressed one and all with his speed though he lacks control.
With Varun Aaron unlikely due to a stress reaction, the selectors may induct Bengal speed merchant Ashok Dinda to complement the Vidarbha lad.
Irfan Pathan with his all-round abilities and current domestic performances will also make it to the squad. If Zaheer is available, then the choice for the fifth seamer`s slot will be a toss-up between Munaf Patel, if he is fully fit, and Ranganath Vinay Kumar.