A new-look India team is set to tour the West Indies as the national selectors are likely to make at least six changes to the squad that clinched the World Cup in April. The selectors will meet on Friday to select the squad for a T20 International and five one-dayers in the Caribbean.
Virender Sehwag and Ashish Nehra have been ruled out of the limited-over leg and the ensuing Test series due to injuries. Zaheer Khan and Sachin Tendulkar are likely to skip the ODI leg to be fresh for the Test series. And, Piyush Chawla and S Sreesanth are likely to become casualties of the mediocre performance in the World Cup.
This means that the selection committee, the newly appointed coach Duncan Fletcher, interim coach Eric Simons and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will have a tough time replacing them with prolific performers in this year’s IPL.
Mumbai’s Rohit Sharma and Tamil Nadu’s S Badrinath are expected to replace Tendulkar and Sehwag. Both Badri and Sharma — the top two run-getters in the previous Ranji Trophy season — have come up with sterling shows in the IPL.The task of the selectors is cut out, as they cannot also ignore the IPL credentials of Ambati Rayudu and Manoj Tiwary. In the bowling department, the three pace bowlers will most probably make way for Praveen Kumar — who missed the World Cup due to an elbow injury — Ishant Sharma and R Vinay Kumar. The three have done exceedingly well in the IPL and, in all likelihood, will be rewarded with call-up to the national squad.
Chawla’s replacement, however, is expected to be hotly debated during the selection meeting. The selectors will have to make a choice between replacing the leg-spinner with another tweaker and including Parthiv Patel as the back-up wicketkeeper in case Dhoni needs a break.
It is uncertain whether Dhoni will play the full series. Though it is learnt that Dhoni “will not” miss the tour, don't be surprised if the India captain skips a couple of ODIs. In such a scenario, Parthiv will be preferred over leg-spinners Amit Mishra and Rahul Sharma and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.