After Kris Srikkanth and the rest of the Indian cricket selection panel converged in Chennai this morning, the much-anticipated 15-member Indian squad for the World Cup is out. Coming as the biggest surprise exclusion was Rohit Sharma. The capable middle-order bat that has been in fairly good form lately and who can double as a part-time off-spinner will not figure in Inda's campaign for the mega-tournament beginning on Feb 19.
An equally large surprise was the inclusion of leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. The 21-year old has just played 21 one-dayers thus far and his last appearance for Team India was way back in in July 2008. His bowling stats are good but not outstanding, showing an average of 32.53, a economy rate of 4.96 and a tally of 28 wickets with a best of 4/23.
But cine the electors wanted to be laden with spinning options, R Ashwin was also able to afford the price of admission to the final 15 with the experienced Harbhajan Singh rounding off India's spin trio.
Meanwhile, in the pace bowling department, only Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Ashish Nehra made the cut. Perhaps the deciding factors for the selectors to go with Patel over Sreesanth is that firstly Munaf ensnared a match-winning 4/29 against South Africa in the second one-dayer, at Johannesburg, on Saturday, Jan 15, and secondly, the latter is down with injuries.
As expected Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have been chosen to lead the batting, even though all three of them are nursing wounds at present. The middle order will comprise Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan and captain M S Dhoni.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, R Ashwin, Ashish Nehra.