Mumbai, May 14: The man who has a cent percent record as Indian ODI captain - Gautam Gambhir - has been deemed fit to lead Team India in the limited-overs leg of the upcoming West Indies tour. This while five major players including Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni have either been rested or injured.
Basing the criteria for selection on strong performances in the Ranji Trophy rather than in the Indian Premier League, the national selectors have given S Badrinath, Rohit Sharma and Parthiv Patel a chance to don the country's jersey.
SpeedstersR Vinay Kumar, Ishant Sharma and leg-spinner Amit Mishra have also found themselves in the squad, replacing Ashish Nehra who is still recuperating from a finger injury, Sreesanth and Piyush Chawla (both dropped). Praveen Kumar has also retained his place in the side, having recovered from the elbow injury that had kept him out of the World Cup. He replaces Zaheer Khan, who has been rested.
With Virender Sehwag out of contention for the openers slot due to the fact that he is currently undergoing surgery on his left elbow and owing to Murali Vijay's poor showing in recent months (a highest of 33 in 11 ODIs, Parthiv Patel seems the likely option to open the innings with Gambhir.
"I am confident that we will do well and win the series in the West Indies. The team is well balanced," said Kris Srikkanth, India's chairman of selectors. "Everything is on merit. It's a great opportunity for a lot of players.
This is not Gambhir's first shot at leading India - he was the captain when India beat New Zealand 5-0 in ODIs last year.
India play one Twenty20 and five ODIs against the hosts beginning with the Twenty20 game on June 4.
Squad: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, S Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar, Yusuf Pathan, Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha (wk).