Sanju Samson, Karn Sharma earn maiden call-up while Cheteshwar Pujara, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir are omitted from India's 17-member squad for the ODI series against England. Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni recalled
Keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup, India's cricket selectors have decided to invest in rookies like leg-spinner Karn Sharma and wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson by picking them in the 17-member ODI squad for the five-match series and a Twenty20 international in England starting Aug 25.
The senior selection committee of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which met in Mumbai on Tuesday, decided to drop Yuvraj Singh and ignore Gautam Gambhir for the ODI series in England.
Mumbai paceman Dhawal Kularni was also included while paceman Mohit Sharma was recalled in the squad, which had no place for other seasoned players such as Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan.
Suresh Raina, who was left out of the Indian team for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh has been included in the squad, announced by BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel after a meeting of the selection committee.
Pacer Umesh Yadav has also been recalled to the team, to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni with Virat Kohli being his deputy. The selectors also dropped paceman Ishwar Pandey, Varun Aaron and wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik.
Patel said the selectors emphasised on youth for the World Cup, which will be held Down Under in February-March next year.
"For the selectors the emphasis was on picking young players for the series. All the players, whom we have picked up in the ODI series ar young," said Patel.
19-year-old Samson, who is mentored by Rahul Dravid, was in outstanding form for India A in the quadrangular series in Australia scoring 244 runs in seven matches. In Ranji Trophy, he has scored 530 runs at an average of 58.88 and has been scoring heavily in the last two editions of the IPL.
26-year-old Karn, who plays for Railways, has been a consistent performer for Sunrisers Hyderabad, who made the Champions League qualifiers. He has picked up 11 wickets in 13 IPL matches last season.
"Considering the World Cup, the emphasis was laid on including the young players, that is why players such as Sanju Samson, Karn Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Stuart Binny are there in the team," Patel told reporters.
Patel also said that Amit Mishra, who is with the Test team in England, has been ruled out of the series with an injury.
Kulkarni also forced his way to the team with his consistent show. He had emerged as the most successful bowler of the Quadrangular series with 14 wickets, which included one five-wicket haul.
Mohit, who has already played eight ODIs for India, had taken eight wickets in that series.
Yuvraj Singh, who was in the second-string team which toured Bangladesh under Raina's captaincy, was ignored and so was Ishant Sharma, who is part of India's Test squad in the ongoing series in England.
The selection panel, headed by Sandeep Patil, discussed with captain Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher through video conference before finalising the squad.
On Ishant Sharma's recovery, Patel said: "Ishant is also doing well in the recovery process and is likely to be available for the fifth Test."
Ishant was dropped from the ODI side and the six pacers for the series would be Bhuveshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Stuart Binny, Umesh Yadav and Dhawal Kulkarni.
Binny has impressed with his all-round abilities in the last ODI series in Bangladesh and was also impressive with his bat in the ongoing Test series in England.
The selectors have reposed faith in ODI openers Dhawan and Rohit though both have not been among the runs in the ongoing Test series in England. While left-handed Dhawan has struggled in the first three Test matches and amassed only 122 runs with 37 as his highest score from six innings, Rohit flopped in the only appearance for a losing cause in the previous game at Southampton by scoring 28 and 6.
The fact that the duo had a splendid run during last year's ICC Champions Trophy to form a good ODI opening combine must have worked in their favour. The two batsmen had played a big role in India clinching the Champions Trophy crown in June last year, with Dhawan top scoring for the team (363 runs at 90-plus per innings), and Rohit finishing as the second-highest scorer behind his opening partner with 177 runs in his kitty from five games.
The selectors, thus, have resisted the temptation of including India's highest run scorer in the current Test rubber, opener Murali Vijay, for the ODIs that follow the five-match series. Vijay, who has scored 364 runs in the first six innings of the Test rubber and is averaging plus 60, last played an ODI for India against Sri Lanka in a tri-nation series held in the West Indies in July 2013.
The team has two all-rounders in Stuart Binny and Ravindra Jadeja while it has two specialist spinners in R Ashwin and Karn. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma and Dhawal Kulkarni form the five-man pace attack.
Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu are the other specialist batsmen while Dhoni and Samson are the two wicket-keepers.
The five ODIs will be played at Bristol (Aug 25), Cardiff (Aug 27), Nottingham (Aug 30), Birmingham (Sep 2) Leeds (Sep 5) and the only Twenty20 is slated for Sep 7 also at Birmingham.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sanju Samson, Karn Sharma.