Dhoni, Sachin rested for WI ODIs, Sehwag to lead

Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar`s wait for his elusive 100th international ton will get a little longer as the selectors Friday decided to rest him and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni from India`s upcoming ODI series against West Indies. Virender Sehwag was named captain of the 15-member squad which will not include Yuvraj Singh who has declared himself unfit.

There was again no place for out-of-form spinner Harbhajan Singh while Parthiv Patel will replace Dhoni in the squad annouced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Sanjay Jagdale after a meeting of the selection committee here. According to the media release issued by the BCCI, Yuvraj has declared himself unfit and so was not considered for selection.

According to reliable sources, Yuvraj might undergo a surgery for his lung problem. The squad has been announced for the first three ODIs to be played at Cuttack (Nov 29), Vizag (December 2) and Ahmedabad (December 5). The decision to rest Dhoni was on the cards as the Indian captain has been playing in all formats of the game for long while Tendulkar has not played in the ODIs since the World Cup final. They were rested keeping in mind the gruelling tour of Australia in December.

"Dhoni has been rested for all five matches as he has played a lot of games," chairman of the selection committee Kris Srikkanth told reporters after the meeting. About Tendulkar playing the last two games, Srikkanth remained non-committal. It is unlikely that Tendulkar will play in the last two games considering that top Indian batsmen will leave a week earlier for Australia.

Srikkanth admitted that the squad has been selected keeping in mind the tour of Australia. "Performance of the youngsters like Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, R Ashwin and Virat Kohli augurs well for India cricket," he said. The squad otherwise has a predictable look with the core of the side that played against England being retained.

Stand-in captain Sehwag will be playing his first ODI since the World Cup final back in April this year. The `Nawab of Najafgarh` has been getting starts but he definitely needs to spend more time in the middle. Gautam Gambhir will also like to cash in on his good form and get a big one while the likes of Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane are there to bolster the middle-order.

Speed merchants Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav and India`s man of the moment R Ashwin will like to conslidate their position in the squad. Seamers Praveen Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary, wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel– all of whom were a part of the squad that thrashed England 5-0 in the home series have retained their places.

Young leg-spinner Rahul Sharma who has been a part of the squad for the past 45 days has also been retained and hopefully will be making his international debut in the upcoming series. Squad: Virender Sehwag (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Parthiv Patel, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma.