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It’s a toss-up between Nehra and Sreesanth
- World Cup XV ● Chawla has an edge over Ashwin
Ashish Nehra

Johannesburg: Assuming that the selectors and the team management agree on not having a second ’keeper in India’s squad of 15 for the World Cup, Monday’s meeting, in Chennai, is likely to focus on two positions only.

Indeed, well-placed sources of The Telegraph have said that the discussions will largely centre around (a) whether to pick Ashish Nehra or Sreesanth and (b) if Piyush Chawla should be chosen at the expense of Ravichandran Ashwin.

While chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Narendra Hirwani and Surendra Bhave are going to be there in person, Yashpal Sharma and Raja Venkat will join in via a teleconference, from Cape Town.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten are also expected to give their views over the phone.

Srikkanth and his colleagues, it seems, are a little wary of picking both spearhead Zaheer Khan and Nehra, the senior-most, as they are prone to getting injured.

“The squad has to have four new-ball bowlers and it’s risky if two of them have a dodgy fitness record... Nehra’s good, particularly at the death, but there are some reservations... If he’s not chosen, then Sreesanth is going to be there,” one of the well-placed sources pointed out.

Sreesanth

Sreesanth has been impressive this season and has been producing that impact-ball. Plus, he has it in him to ‘unsettle’ the opposition, which is an advantage as long as he doesn’t go overboard.

According to another well-placed source, leggie Chawla appears to have the edge over Ashwin, an all-rounder of sorts who bowls off-spin.

That’s because the No.1 spinner, Harbhajan, is himself an off-spinner and others, too, can bowl just that. Chawla brings variety. Besides, he’s good in the field and no bunny with the bat.

Indications are that Dhoni won’t have a deputy with the big gloves, so Rohit Sharma is favoured to take the slot which would, in all probability, have gone to Parthiv Patel.

Not that Rohit has been making the most of the opportunities coming his way, though.

Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumar are recovering from injuries, but the Board isn’t alarmed. That’s the impression one got on Saturday evening.

LIKELY XV FOR WORLD CUP

(in order of seniority)

Batsmen: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli.

’Keeper: Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

All-rounder: Yusuf Pathan.

Spinners: Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla.

New-ball bowlers: Ashish Nehra/ Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar.

Note: Rohit will have to miss out in case Parthiv is selected as the second ’keeper.

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