Sachin Tendulkar has opted out of India's tour of Sri Lanka commencing later this month where the team will play five ODIs and a Twenty20 game, between July 21 and August 7.
However, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan make a comeback into the team after missing the Asia Cup. Though it's a low-key series, India will be at full strength as apart from Tendulkar, all first-choice players are available. The selection committee meeting was also attended by coach Duncan Fletcher.
Chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth confirmed that Tendulkar, who reached the milestone of 100 international tons at the Asia Cup, India's last international outing, will be available only from the home series against New Zealand in August-September.
"Sachin obviously would like to extend his career. He's looking at Test cricket in a big way. I'm sure he must be aiming at the England and Australia series. It's going to be a long season ahead and Sachin is spacing it out very well," he said. The former India opener explained why Virat Kohli was retained as MS Dhoni's deputy. "The idea is to have some continuity and to groom with the future in view."
Zaheer was included at the expense of all-rounder Irfan Pathan. The selection panel deliberated about keeping Zaheer fresh for the long season ahead where India will be playing 10 Tests. But being a bowler who likes to have a lot of overs under his belt, it was felt playing the limited overs series will help Zaheer find his rhythm. The committee also included Umesh Yadav but dropped Praveen Kumar.
Out of favour
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who was in the spotlight before the Indian Premier League for commanding the highest bid in the players' auction, as well as Yusuf Pathan were dropped. The selectors preferred specialist spinners, recalling left-armer Pragyan Ojha and retaining off-spinner R Ashwin and leg-spinner Rahul Sharma.
However, Ajinkya Rahane, who had a very productive IPL season and did moderately well on the India A tour of West Indies, was named in the 15.
Srikkanth was hopeful that Yuvraj, slowly regaining his fitness after his successful cancer treatment, would be fit and be in contention for the World Twenty20 to be played in Sri Lanka. The probables are likely to be named on July 20.
"I'm sure and hopeful Yuvraj will be back by then. The guy who has won the World Cup for the country deserves to come back. He has got the fighting spirit to make a comeback. The way he fought over this illness and came out of it and started practicing shows his positive approach," he said.