Sehwag, Pathan in India~~s World Cup squad

Published: Monday, February 12, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:India's cricket selectors picked Virender Sehwag for the World Cup despite the aggressive batsman being woefully out of touch in the run-up to the showpiece event.

The selectors also included the injured duo of seamer Irfan Pathan and batsman Yuvraj Singh in the 15-man squad, confident they will recover in time before the World Cup opens in the Caribbean on March 13.

Rahul Dravid will captain India with senior pro Sachin Tendulkar, set for his fifth World Cup, appointed the deputy ahead of former skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Sehwag, 28, was selected despite scoring just 273 in his last 15 one-dayers, including an unimpressive 19 off 23 balls in the five-run defeat against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Sehwag, the only Indian to compile a triple-century in Test cricket, was favoured for his career record of 4,775 runs from 165 one-dayers with seven centuries.

Sehwag is also a useful off-spin bowler with 71 one-day wickets, giving Dravid an option of an additional spinner.

Coach Greg Chappell and Dravid joined the five-man selection committee, headed by former Test captain Dilip Vengsarkar, in choosing a squad that has a good blend of experience and youth.

Six players -- Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthick, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Munaf Patel -- will be playing in their first World Cup.

But the remaining nine -- Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan -- were part of the 2003 squad in South Africa that made the final.

Yuvraj (back injury) and Pathan (sore shoulder) were picked after team physiotherapist John Gloster said he was confident both will be fit before the team departed for the Caribbean on February 28.

India are drawn with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and first-timers Bermuda in group B of the preliminary league. The top two will advance to the second round.

India won the World Cup in 1983 under Kapil Dev.

India's World Cup squad:

Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthick, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Munaf Patel.


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