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Skipper keeps Ashwin waiting

Strange as it may sound, but Piyush Chawla is still in the scheme of things, and not Ravichandran Ashwin, as far as the Indian 11 for Saturday's match against South Africa is concerned.

india Updated: Mar 12, 2011 00:37 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

Strange as it may sound, but Piyush Chawla is still in the scheme of things, and not Ravichandran Ashwin, as far as the Indian 11 for Saturday's match against South Africa is concerned. After an evening team meeting, the hosts left out Ashwin, Suresh Raina and Sreesanth from the 12 who will make the cut.

Given the hard nature of the surface at the VCA Stadium, which offers a decent amount of carry, there is a chance that India will go in with three medium-pacers - Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel.

"It will be a thought. From what we have seen, this is one of the better tracks of the country. By better I mean there is a little more bounce. We will have a look and see whether it (the wicket) is dry or not and then decide on the combination," said Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday.

Dhoni's preference for Chawla ahead of Ashwin has raised eyebrows, especially after the former failed to get his act together in the three matches he played. But by persisting with him, the skipper has made clear that he doesn't want to expose Ashwin on a pitch that is largely in favour of batsmen.

As far as playing Chawla is concerned, it will be decided on Saturday. If the pitch is dry - there is a chance that might be the case considering the heat - the leg-spinner can make it. Even if he doesn't, Chawla is still ahead of Ashwin.