IPL stars may make ODI team for west Indies

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Old 01-May-2011
IPL stars may make ODI team for west Indies

New Delhi May 1:

With little more than a week left for India's ODI team to be picked for the West Indies tour, indications are that four senior cricketers - MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan - will be given rest. This has led to a lot of speculation regarding the replacements.

The BCCI is aware that skipper Dhoni has taken a lot of load in recent times and his hands and back have taken a battering. He has done the job behind the stumps, has captained the side with Úlan and also shown responsibility and some flourish with the bat. If Dhoni opts out, the selectors would in all probability opt for Delhi opener Gautam Gambhir, who led the team to a 5-0 whitewash of New Zealand last year.

There are some names doing the rounds for the slot of the wicketkeeper, where Parthiv Patel seems to have the edge over Dinesh Karthik, Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha. Sachin Tendulkar has in recent times opted out of the ODIs to give his not-so-young body much-needed rest. Even at the age of 38, he is fit and in prime form and the selectors would love to write his name first on the sheet. However, Tendulkar would want a little rest after the tiring IPL to recharge his batteries for the Test series in West Indies.

Virender Sehwag needs to rest his injured shoulder too. So, with two slots getting vacant at top of the batting order, there's an opportunity for some youngsters to grab the ticket to the West Indies. Midway through the IPL, the names that have figured prominently as replacements are Rohit Sharma, who missed the World Cup campaign, S Badrinath and the two Tiwaris - Saurabh and Manoj.

As for the bowling, Zaheer Khan surely needs to be protected. He is not getting any younger and the ODI grind soon after the IPL would be too much to ask for. He is India's leading match-winning bowler and the team will need him during the Test series. So, if Zak is allowed to rest his aching limbs and Sreesanth, who did not have a memorable World Cup, is left out, two slots fall vacant if the selectors want to go with four pacers. Munaf Patel is sure to keep his place while Praveen Kumar, who missed the World Cup due to injuries, should walk in without much fuss.

In such a scenario, Ishant Sharma and Vinay Kumar could fancy their chances. Another player who could figure in the discussions is Ashish Nehra. However, Nehra is so injury prone that the selectors may be tempted to ignore him. In the spin department, Harbhajan Singh and R Ashwin simply walk in but there will be some pressure on leg-spinner Piyush Chawla to retain his place. IPL has given the selectors a lot of options. If they want to take along a leggie, either Amit Mishra and or Pune Warriors' Rahul Sharma could get lucky. As for the Test series, Sreesanth could keep his place, though Delhi Daredevils' Umesh Yadav, who hails from Nagpur, has the pace to make the selectors say 'you are in'.

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