The national selectors called up Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar to the Indian team for the four-ODI tour of the West Indies starting on June 26 at Jamaica. There was also room in the 16-man squad for Delhi left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra, recalled after a gap of nearly four years.
Four key ODI players- Sachin Tendulkar (finger injury), Suresh Raina (hairline thumb fracture), Virender Sehwag (shoulder injury) and Zaheer Khan (recovering from shoulder injury) were rested while speedster Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathan were dropped. Also making the ODI squad for the first time is Twenty20 specialist Ravindra Jadeja.
Nayar, 25, was going through his training routine training at the Bandra-Kurla Complex and also running around to get his visa formalities done. Nayar took it in his stride last month when he missed the bus for the World T20 but was expecting the call nevertheless. “I am happy it happened soon,” Nayar told the Hindustan Times. “Now that it has come, I will make the most of it.”
Nayar said that it was “most important to get his form back and stick to the basics”. The Indian Premier League 2009 proved to be the perfect launchpad for the hard-hitting left-handed bat. “I have the experience of having played in foreign conditions. I have learnt that once you are in the middle, you have to take it all the way till the end.”
Nayar is also looking forward to being re-united with close pal Rohit Sharma. “It will be a special experience for me to share the Indian dressing room with my very close friend. We have shared the Mumbai dressing room for sometime, and now it will be good for me. I know quite a few players in the Indian team.”
‘If you are good, can bowl anywhere’
For Nehra, the recall has been on expected lines, after he took 19 wickets in the IPL in South Africa. “I know it is a long gap but I believed if I was injury-free I’d do well. Everybody saw during the IPL that I was bowling with the same old rhythm. I know I can do well,” Nehra told the Hindustan Times.
Post IPL, Nehra has been training and playing matches in the simmering Delhi heat knowing the call could come any time. “The West Indies pitches are slow and low but if you are good, you can bowl well anywhere,” said Nehra. “I will try my best, let’s see how things go.
“The tour is very important for India after their early exit from World T20. Twenty20 is anybody’s game. It is very important to win to keep the winning momentum (in other formats) going.”
MS Dhoni (capt), Yuvraj Singh (vice-capt), Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, M Vijay, S Badrinath, Abhishek Nayar, Dinesh Karthik, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha, Ashish Nehra.