Mumbai, Feb 29: Veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar has been included in the 15-man Indian squad for next month's Asia Cup 2012 in Dhaka while there is no place for out-of-form opener Virender Sehwag who is rested. The National Selection Committee met here in Mumbai and made an announcement on Wednesday.
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Tendulkar gets another chance to score his 100th international hundred despite poor from in the tri-series in Australia. He has scored just 143 runs in seven games in Australia at an average of 20.42.
Selection committee chairman, Krish Srikkanth said that Sehwag "needed rest" according to the reports from doctors. He along with Zaheer Khan have few injuries and had been advised rest, according to the chairman.
Facing some tough questions over Sehwag, Srikkanth clarified that Sehwag and Zaheer were rested "purely on injury grounds" as per the physio's reports.
"Physiotherapist has advised that both Zaheer and Sehwag need to take rest as they have some injuries. It is an honest truth, the fact of the matter," Srikkanth said.
"Medical reports came to the Board from the team physiotherapist. The report said they needed rest for injury problem and accordingly after consulting with the board and the management in Australia we announced this team," added Srikkanth.
Srikkanth did not mention what injury Sehwag had. He said this was the "best team possible."
"This is the best team possible considering the fitness of the players and also taking into account the response of the physiotherapist and Board."
On choosing Kohli as the vice-captain, Srikkanth said: "We slightly have started to look towards the future and named Kohli as the vice-captain. The board feels Kohli can be a future captain and it is important to groom him."
At one point, Srikkanth lost his cool over questions on Sehwag and asked one of the journalists to "shut up."
"I don't want to talk about speculations. Time to time physiotherapists keep taking these fitness tests and we have gone completely by their reports and the board. There is no point asking the same questions in different way, because my answer will remain the same."
Opener Sehwag has tallied just 65 runs in five tri-series games at an average of 13.00 with a highest score of 30.
MS Dhoni will continue to be the captain while all-rounder Yusuf Pathan and fast bowler Ashok Dinda are recalled. Virat Kohli, who has been impressive throughout the Australian tour, has been handed the vice-captaincy responsibility.
Young fast bowler Umesh Yadav has also been rested. Rohit Sharma, who too did not perform well in Australia, gets another chance to prove his worth with the bat.
Bengal bowler Dinda has been rewarded for his fine performances in the just concluded Ranji Trophy season. He was the second highest wicket-taker in the season. He has taken 59 first class wickets this season. He had earlier played five ODIs for India. On Sunday, he was signed by Pune Warriors for Indian Premier League (IPL).
Tendulkar is the second highest run scorer in Asia Cup history with 799 runs in 20 matches. He has one century and six fifties at an average of 49.93. Sri Lankan retired batsman Sanath Jayasuriya heads the run charts in Asia Cup with 1,220.
Interestingly, Tendulkar is also India's joint highest wicket-taker in Asia Cup with 17 along with Irfan Pathan.
Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) selectors, Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath, Narendra Hirwani, Surendra Bhave and Raja Venkat met in Mumbai on Wednesday morning.
India are the defending champions and play their first game against Sri Lanka on March 13, Tuesday. India are also the most successful team in the continent's showpiece event with five titles. Sri Lanka is next with four triumphs while Pakistan has managed to win only once since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1984.
In the previous edition held in Sri Lanka in 2010, India defeated the hosts in the final by 81 runs at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium. Dhoni was the captain of the team.
The 11th edition of Asia Cup opens with hosts Bangladesh playing Pakistan at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
All matches will be played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka and will be day and night encounters.
India squad for Asia Cup: MS Dhoni (captain), Virat Kohli (vice captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Ashok Dinda, Manoj Tiwary.