Selection dilemma for India ahead of World Cup final

Updated: Apr 01, 2011, 08:56 AM IST

Mumbai: After the triumph over Pakistan, India faces a selection dilemma for the final against Sri Lanka on Saturday -- the issue being whether to drop one of the three pacers who performed brilliantly in the semifinal to make way for off-spinner R Ashwin.

After the semifinal victory at Mohali last night, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni acknowledged he had misread the wicket and left out Ashwin to have three seamers plus Harbhajan Singh. As it turned out the three -- Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel -- bowled splendidly taking two wickets each.

The dilemma for the Indian selection think-tank would be whether to leave out Nehra and bring in Ashwin who had done well in the two matches preceding the high-voltage game against Pakistan.

Dhoni has all along said that he picks his playing XI considering the condition of the pitch and that would not change when he inspects the track at the renovated Wankhede Stadium ahead of the summit showdown.

"We misread the wicket. It was not a normal Mohali track. It usually does not help the spinner, but it did today. Our spinners really bowled very well and that really put pressure on them," Dhoni said at the post-match press conference in Mohali.

On Nehra`s wonderful performance in the match, Dhoni said he selects the playing XI considering the pitch conditions and it was great to see Nehra justify his selection.

"He was criticized for his performance the last time he played, so it was a good comeback. Being criticized is part and parcel of a cricketer`s life," he said.

Harbhajan Singh has not done well and Dhoni was bluntly asked at the press conference whether the team management would redraw the the strategy considering his poor form, in other words indicating whether he could be dropped for the final.

Dhoni did not give any categorical response to that suggestion.

"We have done well with bits and pieces contributions from everyone. We will manage in the final also."

PTI