Sehwag, Munaf recalled for Lanka one-dayers

Published: Saturday, February 3, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Indian batsman Virender Sehwag and paceman Munaf Patel have been recalled while Ramesh Powar, Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir were left out from the 15-member squad for the first two one-dayers of the four-game series against Sri Lanka.

Chief Selector Dilip Vengsarkar, while addressing newspersons after the Selection Committee meeting, said Virender Sehwag would bat in the middle order. He said the Delhi batsman would also be a utility off-spin bowler.

Vengsarkar said, ''Sehwag is a proven cricketer and we wanted to give him a break so that he can practice and make a comeback as a much better cricketer.''

His inclusion for the the first two ODIs did not mean he would be guranteed a place in the World Cup squad, Colonel said of Sehwag.

''He will have to perform in the first two matches and only then we will take a call on his inclusion in the World Cup squad,'' he added.

The hard-hitting batsman was dropped for a recent home series against the West Indies following his poor performance on the South African tour, with chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar advising him to "sort out his batting."

Sehwag has so far scored 4,756 runs in 163 one-day internationals with seven centuries.

When asked if this was the squad that would also go to the World Cup, Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors, suggested that it was close to what the selection committee and the team think-tank had in mind, but did not completely rule out the possibility of changes.

Colonel indicated that the team for the World Cup would probably be selected from this fifteen plus Ramesh Powar, Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir, the three to sit out for the current series.

On Munaf's fitness level, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, who also is the convenor of selection committee, revealed that Munaf had been 'cleared' of his fitness troubles, and was declared fully fit by John Gloster, the physiotherapist of the Indian team. Munaf last played for India in a Test against South Africa.

The series against Sri Lanka begins in Kolkata on Feb 8 with the remaining games in Rajkot (Feb 11), Goa (Feb 14) and Visakhapatnam (Feb 17).

The four-match series against Sri Lanka is India's last before the World Cup tournament starts in the Caribbean in March.

The team for the final two one-dayers plus the team for the World Cup, would be picked on Feb 12 in Mumbai.

Squad (first two one-dayers):Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar (vice-capt), Virender Sehwag, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthick (standby wk), Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Munaf Patel.

ThatsCricket (with inputs from agencies)

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