Mumbai: Indian selectors will deliberate if injured skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni along with some other seniors should be rested when they pick squad on Friday for the upcoming five-match ODI series in Zimbabwe.
The selectors had retained the victorious Champions Trophy squad for the tri-nation series but Indian players have played non-stop cricket in the last few months and the discussion is likely to centre around who needs to be rested.
Dhoni was ruled out of the series in the West Indies due to a hamstring injury and it is not known if he will be available for the series against Zimbabwe commencing, July 24.
If Dhoni is rested, Virat Kohli will have to continue leading the side. The selectors may look at the option of recalling senior opener Gautam Gambhir, also named among the reserves, to lend some more experience to the team, especially if Dhoni is unavailable.
Left-handed Gambhir lost his place in the team due to his recent poor form with the bat.
But with Murali Vijay - named as the opening partner for his Delhi mate Shikhar Dhawan - being sidelined after Rohit Sharma`s promotion, a case could be made for Gambhir`s recall.
Vijay did not play a single game in the Champions Trophy and when included in the second match against Sri Lanka in the tri-series could not capitalise on the good start and fell for 30. His place could go to Gambhir.
Gambhir was named among the probables for the Windies’ series by the selectors and has a strong chance of getting a call-up to resume his interrupted ODI career in which he has scored 5238 runs from 147 matches.
An injury to Irfan Pathan forced the selectors to bring in Shami Ahmed, one of the probables named for the Windies’ tour, and later they had to substitute Dhoni by including another reserve player Ambati Rayudu.
The two players may keep their place if selectors choose to rest one or two bowlers along with senior batsmen.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who was not in list of the reserves as he was recovering from injury, would be fancying his chances, as he can lend substance to the middle order due to the unavailability of Manoj Tiwary, another probable, who has been ruled out of action for four months with a knee injury.
A few more changes could be made to the line-up, especially in pace bowling, with Praveen Kumar likely to get a call-up to replace one of the jaded-looking pacers after having been named in the probables list for Windies’ tour.
Rahul Sharma is the sixth reserve player, but with Amit Mishra already in the squad for the West Indies and yet to play a game, is unlikely to be considered by the selectors.
The rest of the squad is expected to be retained for the bilateral series against Zimbabwe in which India play the first three games at the Harare Sports Club and the last two in Bulawayo before finishing their engagements on August 3.