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Nehra unlikely despite being fit

cricket Updated: Aug 06, 2011 01:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The debate is likely to be over spinners when the national selectors meet in Chennai on Saturday to pick the 15 for the limited overs leg of India's tour of England.

Going by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) assessment, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh can just about recover before the games but the selectors are unlikely to take chances and the duo from the World Cup-winning squad looks set to get omitted for the one-off T20I and five ODIs.

They are looking at six batsmen, two wicketkeepers, five medium-pacers and two spinners.

In Harbhajan's expected absence, the contenders are off-spinner R Ashwin, leg-spinner Amit Mishra and left-armer Pragyan Ojha. Mishra was the most successful bowler in a second-string side in the five ODIs in the West Indies, taking 11 wickets at an economy rate of 3.98.

"Chances of Mishra being effective in English conditions will be discussed. There will be arguments in favour of Ojha, who can dry up the scoring from one end. Ashwin should be there to replace Harbhajan. Picking the second one is a tough call," a source close to the selection committee told HT on Friday.

Five of the six batsmen (see box) are certainties unless someone gets injured, so there is room for one and Rohit Sharma looks set to grab that slot. Parthiv Patel is expected to be chosen as the second wicket-keeper.

The selectors might have gone for an additional batsman instead of picking five medium-pacers but will not do that considering the rate at which they are breaking down.

Given that the limited-overs leg starts with three practice games and the first one is on August 25, Zaheer Khan should be fine by then, but the selectors are unlikely to pick him.

Even though Ashish Nehra has said he has submitted his fitness certificate, the selectors are unlikely to pick him because he has not played since the World Cup semi-final on March 30. So if Zaheer is left out, R Vinay Kumar may come in.