There were no surprises in the Indian team for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies starting next month. The 15 that the selectors had picked for the first two matches against Sri Lanka will go to the West Indies.
It was a foregone conclusion that the team the selectors picked for the first two games against Sri Lanka would go to the West Indies as skipper Rahul Dravid has always said in recent times that he had to get the key players in form before the quadrennial event.
The chairman of selectors, Dilip Vengsarkar, said after the one-and-a-half hour-long selection meeting in Mumbai on Monday that he had to bank on the experience to name the squad for the World Cup. "We have picked the best combination, which we hope will do well in the West Indies," Vengsarkar said.
This meant the selectors have reposed faith on Virender Sehwag, the Delhi batsman who was dropped following his repeated failures on the tour of South Africa. Also keeping his place in the side is Baroda's Irfan Pathan.
Skipper Rahul Dravid, who also addressed the huge gathering of media corps, said: "I am quite excited about the team. The key to India doing well in the World Cup is in the way six or seven key players perform. If these key players, supported by the rest of the team do well, we will have a good World Cup. It is how these big players stand up and deliver is what I, as a captain, look at."
Vengsarkar said that Sehwag will bat in the middle order. "But if the opportunity to open arises, Sehwag will open. It is a huge challenge for Sehwag," he added.
The World Cup squad: Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar (vice-captain), Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Kaarthick, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Munaf Patel, S Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan.
NOTE: Suresh Raina and RP Singh will be with the above 15 for the last two one-dayers against Sri Lanka to be played at Goa (February 14) and Visakhapatnam (February 17) as back-up.