| Rahul Dravid
Calcutta: The senior national selectors, who meet in Ahmedabad on Saturday to choose 15 for the first two ODIs against Pakistan, will do so in a “conservative” manner.
“Nothing radical or dramatic is planned and we’re going to make a conservative selection,” a member of the all-powerful quintet told The Telegraph on Friday night.
In effect, what it means is that former captain Rahul Dravid (left out of the XI in the seventh and last ODI versus Australia) will find a place in the squad.
He’d been left out at the Wankhede, last week, after totalling a mere 51 in the earlier matches.
“As of now, there are no plans to leave out Rahul... He’s definitely going to be there in the 15,” the same selector added, from Ahmedabad.
Dravid’s technique (and experience) will be needed as the Pakistan squad includes the fiery Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif, who has developed into a lethal speed merchant.
Apparently, there’s going to be just one change from the squad which did duty in the last three ODIs (all against Australia), with Gautam Gambhir staging a comeback and Subramanium Badrinath going out.
Badrinath, in fact, got a call-up only because of a groin injury to Gambhir on the eve of the Chandigarh ODI. He scored an unbeaten 82 in the Challenger on Friday, but must return to the wings.
The gifted Suresh Raina, who posted 92 in the Challenger-opener on Thursday, also has to wait before he can come back to the Team India dressing room.
While the first ODI is in Guwahati on November 5, the next is in Mohali (November 8). Kanpur, Gwalior and Jaipur host the remaining matches.
THE LIKELY SQUAD
(as of Friday night)
Batsmen: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain), Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma
Wicketkeeper: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain)
Allrounder: Irfan Pathan
Spinners: Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik
Medium-pacers: Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Sreesanth