Dravid returns to ODI fold after a 2-year hiatus

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/dravid09.jpg' class='caption'> Rahul Dravid has made his way back into the ODI side as chief selector S Srikkanth announced 15-member team for tri-series in Sri Lanka and CT.

Updated: August 17, 2009 17:28 IST
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New Delhi:

Veteran Rahul Dravid on Sunday staged a comeback into India's 15-member one-day squad while Virender Sehwag was ruled out of next month's tri-series in Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

The 36-year-old Dravid, who last played an ODI back in October 2007, was included in the squad to bolster the batting line-up for the two tournaments, which will also see the return of Sachin Tendulkar.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra was included in place of left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the squad, announced by BCCI secretary N Srinivasan.

There was no major surprises in the team which features eight batsmen, four pacers, two spinners and an all-rounder in Yusuf Pathan.

Mumbai left-hander Abhishek Nayar was retained in the side but his Ranji teammate Rohit Sharma was axed to accommodate Suresh Raina, who had skipped the West Indies tour because of a thumb injury.

The selection committee, headed by Krishnamachari Srikkanth met at the Chidambaram Stadium today to pick the squad for the September 8-14 tri-series in Sri Lanka and the September 22-October 5 Champions Trophy and they went by the fitness level of the players and their performance in recent past.

Dravid's return was more or less certain after the Indian top and middle order's poor display against short-pitch deliveries in both the World Twenty20 in South Africa and during the West Indies tour.

Besides, Sehwag's shoulder injury which necessitated a surgery, weakened the Indian top order and the selectors felt Dravid's vast experience would strengthen the line-up.

In Sehwag's absence, Tendulkar is set to open with Gautam Gambhir, while Dravid and Raina will add beef to the top and middle order, which also include vice captain Yuvraj Singh and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Sehwag's absence allowed Dinesh Karthick to hung on to his place as a reserve opener.

In the bowling department, Mishra staged a comeback to the ODI format after six long years to join Harbhajan Singh in the spin unit.

A regular in the Test squad now, Mishra played the last of his three ODIs back in April 2003 against South Africa and was frustrated at being branded a Test specialist.

In the pace bowling department, India would sorely miss spearhead Zaheer Khan who is out of both the tournaments following a shoulder surgery.

In his absence, the onus would be on Ashish Nehra, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and RP Singh to step up to the plate and perform.

Ravindra Jadeja, Munaf Patel, R Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawal Kulkarni, S Badrinath, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Singh, Wriddhiman Saha and Pankaj Singh are the 11 cricketers who were named in the list of 30-member probables for the Champions Trophy but could not survive the pruning.

The Indian players will have a four-day training camp at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore from August 27. The camp is expected to focus on both physical conditioning and skills before the players disperse on August 30 to participate in the BCCI Corporate Cup.

Indian squad:

MS Dhoni (c), Yuvraj Singh (v-c), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Yusuf Pathan, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Abhishek Nayar, Praveen Kumar and Amit Mishra.

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