India axe Harbhajan for first two one-dayers

NEW DELHI, (Reuters) – India axed spinner Harbhajan  Singh yesterday and drafted in the uncapped Sreenath Aravind  and Rahul Sharma for the first two one-day internationals  against England next month.

Senior players Sachin Tendulkar (toe), Virender Sehwag  (shoulder) and Yuvraj Singh (finger) have not recovered from  injuries and were left out of the 15-man squad for the matches  on Oct. 14 (Hyderabad) and Oct. 17 (Delhi).

“A number of senior players are not fit…it provides a  great opportunity for the youngsters to prove themselves,” chief  selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth told reporters in Chennai.

Harbhajan Singh

India’s batting received a boost with opener Gautam Gambhir,  who suffered concussion in England, returning to the side.
Harbhajan struggled in England, managing just two wickets in  the first two tests before an abdominal strain cut short his  tour.
The 31-year-old with over 400 test wickets declared himself  fit for the series against England but the selectors persisted  with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

The slow bowling department will also include Punjab  leg-spinner Sharma, who has been consistently among the wickets  in the Indian Premier League.

Karnataka left-arm pacer Sreenath Aravind will also hope to  make his international debut against England.
India and England will play three more one-dayers in Mohali  (Oct. 20), Mumbai (Oct. 23) and Kolkata (Oct. 25).
Kolkata will host a one-off Twenty20 international on Oct.  29.

India failed to win a single match against England on their  recent tour. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team lost the test series  4-0 and were knocked off the top of the world rankings by their  hosts.

“We are confident we will do well in home conditions,”  Srikkanth said.
“It is a very good combination and we did not compromise on  quality. We thoroughly scrutinised the players’ fitness and I’m  sure they will deliver.”

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