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Focus on Tendulkar, Sehwag; Hobart may influence

cricket Updated: Feb 29, 2012 00:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Chasing down 321 in 37 overs is incredible by any standard. Coming from a team that must have been looking to return home as early as possible after a gruelling and frustrating tour Down Under enhances the enormity of the achievement.

So, when the selection committee sits in Mumbai on Wednesday to pick the squad for the Asia Cup in Dhaka, it is likely to face two questions.

Will it look at Tuesday's match in Hobart in isolation and uphold those that called for drastic changes in the squad beginning with resting Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina who have failed to shine on this tour?

Hobart comeback
Or, will the selection committee consider this a performance of a team with backs to the wall showing character befitting world champions? Going by an official in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who is not authorised to talk to the media, Hobart's dream run-chase 'drastically' changes the way the committee led by Krishnamachari Srikkanth was to approach Wednesday's meeting.

"Will you still ask me who all will be rested or dropped if India enter the final and go on to even win the trophy?" the source asked. Going by the second option, there could be very few changes and that too will depend on whether Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan want rest and the extent of R Vinay Kumar's injury.

Chance for Dinda
Mumbai's Ajinkya Rahane could be an option for the third opener's slot and Bengal's Ashok Dinda, who took a whopping 59 wickets in nine first-class matches this season, could squeeze in if both medium-pacers are out. Jharkhand's Varun Aaron is yet to recover from a stress injury in his back and is undergoing rehabilitation at the NCA in Bangalore.

The only other change could be that of Rajasthan middle-order batsman Robin Bist, who scored more than 1000 runs in this Ranji Trophy, coming in for Rohit Sharma, who struggled in Australia. It is likely that Manoj Tiwary, who has not got a game, and Parthiv Patel, who played just one match, would retain their places.

It was still undecided whether the selectors want to pick a 15-member squad or an extra player. Considering the length of the Australia tour and the hectic Asia Cup and Indian Premier League ahead, the squad could be of 16 members.