Calcutta: On a day when Sachin Tendulkar retired from ODIs, the national selectors did not consider Zaheer Khan for the high-profile limited-overs series against Pakistan.
In all, India made six changes to the ODI squad that had toured Sri Lanka in July and August this year, for the three-match ODI series against Pakistan, starting December 30.
All-rounder Yuvraj Singh was rewarded for his consistent performances in the limited-overs format as he returned to India’s ODI team for the first time since last year’s World Cup triumph after he was picked in the 15-member squad.
The national selectors, who met captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher, replaced all-rounder Irfan Pathan, pacer Umesh Yadav and middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary, who are all nursing injuries.
Besides Zaheer, the selection committee headed by Sandeep Patil, also decided to leave out the spin duo of Pragyan Ojha and Rahul Sharma. The six men who have come in their place are Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Shami Ahmed and Amit Mishra.
Bengal’s Shami was rewarded for his consistent performances in the domestic circuit and A tours.
He has so far picked 28 wickets in five Ranji matches this season. Only the other day, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram had praised the pacer and advised the selectors to consider him.
Virender Sehwag, who had opted out of the two T20 matches against England, was also called back into the one-day side for the three-match series. Leg-spinner Mishra’s inclusion in the ODIs was a big surprise.
There are doubts over whether Sehwag will play in the 2015 World Cup. He was dropped for the Asia Cup in March following a poor CB Series in Australia. He has shown glimpses of regaining his form. Still Sehwag averages only 23.66 from his previous nine games, with just one 50-plus score, since scoring a world-record 219 against West Indies last December.
The T20 squad is more or less the same with only Abhimanyu Mithun making for Delhi pacer Ishant Sharma. The T20 series against Pakistan starts on Tuesday.