India axe Harbhajan for England one-dayers

India's cricket selectors on Thursday left out star spinner Harbhajan Singh for the first two one-day internationals of next month's home series against England.

Harbhajan, 31, paid the price for a poor Test series in England where India were humbled 4-0 and lost their number one ranking, before suffering a 3-0 defeat in one-dayers.

The off-spinner bagged just two wickets in as many Tests at an average of 143.50 before heading home with an abdominal strain.

Harbhajan has been a regular member of the Indian team since his debut in 1998, claiming 406 wickets in 98 Tests and 259 wickets in 229 one-day internationals.

His absence further weakens the injury-ravaged world champions, who picked three rookies in a new-look 15-man squad for the first two matches in Hyderabad on October 14 and New Delhi on Oct 17.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina are the only survivors from the side that defeated Sri Lanka in the World Cup final in Mumbai on April 2.

Missing are batting stars Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, three frontline seamers, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, and Harbhajan.

Sreesanth and Harbhajan were not considered for selection, while the others have not recovered from injuries suffered during the England tour.

Tendulkar, 38, the world's leading Test and one-day batsman, is one century away from becoming the first player to score 100 international hundreds.

Leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, 24, left-arm seamer Sreenath Aravind, 27, and fast bowler Varun Aaron, 21, are without international experience. Aaron was part of India's one-day squad in England but did not play a match.

The selectors named Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Sharma as the three spinners, while Praveen Kumar will lead the new-ball attack that also includes Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar.

The squad for the remaining matches in Mohali (Oct 20), Mumbai (Oct 23) and Kolkata (Oct 25), and the lone Twenty20 international in Kolkata on Oct 29, will be named later.

The series will be India's first at home since winning the World Cup.

India's one-day squad:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Sreenath Aravind, Praveen Kumar.

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