Sachin Tendulkar named in India squad for Asia Cup
Updated: February 29, 2012, 10:45
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MUMBAI, India (AP) Indian selectors included Sachin Tendulkar in a 15-member squad named Wednesday for the four-nation Asia Cup tournament to be held in Dhaka from March 11-22.
Tendulkar has been struggling to get big scores as he targets an unprecedented 100th international century, although he may get a crack at the milestone before the Asia Cup if India makes next week's best-of-three final of the ongoing tri-series in Australia.
Tendulkar, who has been choosy in playing ODIs, was picked despite managing only 143 runs in seven innings in the tri-series which also features Sri Lanka.
Hard-hitting opener Virender Sehwag and pace bowler Zaheer Khan do not figure in the Asia Cup squad because of injuries.
Sehwag has scored only 65 runs in his last five one-day innings after also showing indifferent form in a preceding test series in Australia but chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth said form was not a consideration for leaving him out.
"Sehwag and Zaheer have been rested due to injuries," Srikkanth told reporters without elaborating on the injuries. "It has been done on the basis of reports from the physiotherapist and there need not be any speculation in this regard."
Srikkanth said there was no need to panic despite India's stuttering form since the World Cup victory at home last April.
"We had a dream run recently during which we were the top test side and also won the World Cup, but we have not done well in England and Australia after that," Srikkanth said. "In England, we had a lot of injuries but I was expecting the team to win the test series in Australia."
The Indian cricket team has been criticized for crashing to humiliating 4-0 test defeats in England and Australia but Srikkanth said the ODI team looked settled.
"We have not done too badly in ODIs and are in with a chance even now in Australia," he added.
Middle-order batsman Virat Kohli, who smashed a superb 133 not out Tuesday against Sri Lanka to help India finish with a bonus point that kept it in contention for the final of the tri-series, has been named vice-captain ahead of Gautam Gambhir.
Allrounder Yusuf Pathan and pace bowler Ashok Dinda returned to a squad that includes 12 of the 17 players currently in Australia. Another seamer, Umesh Yadav, was rested.
The Asia Cup is a league tournament featuring India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, with the top two teams making it to the final.
India is the defending champion.
Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Ashok Dinda.
Updated February 29, 2012