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Dhoni is captain of ODI team
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Squad for the first three ODIs against Australia: Mahendra Dhoni (captain), Yuvraj Singh (vice captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Rahul Dravid, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Shantakumarn Sreesant and Rudra Pratap Singh.

Mumbai, September 18
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been appointed captain of the Indian cricket team for the forthcoming one-day internationals against Australia and Pakistan.

The national selectors also announced the squad for the first three ODIs against Australia which would feature Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan.

However Virender Sehwag would be missed while Ajit Agarkar, Munaf Patel and Rohit Sharma have been dropped from the side. Sehwag would, however, find a place in the squad for the later matches when the members of team would be rotated, Vengsarkar said.

Explaining the choice of Dhoni, who is presently captaining the country's team for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, chairman of the selectors Dilip Vengsarkar said the pinch-hitter from Jharkhand was the future of the team. "Dhoni is a good captain and it is the right time to groom him," Vengsarkar said. Dhoni will have three former captains - Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid - under him.

Vengsarkar however did not thing there would any ego clashes in the team. "You are talking about having three captains - Azharuddin had five former captains under him when he led India in England," Vengsarkar noted.

The captain for the Test matches would be announced later, Vengsarkar said. He denied reports that veteran Tendulkar was offered the top job. "We did not offer the captaincy to anyone, nor did we talk to him regarding the Test captaincy," Vengsarkar said.

He, however, admitted that the selectors "discussed four or five other players" for the top job.

Dhoni's rise in the hierarchy has been spectacular ever since he made his debut in ODIs in December 2004. He scored 2477 runs in 84 ODIs at an average of 44.23. His strike rate stands at 96.26. His holds the record for the highest score for a wicket-keeper with an unbeaten 183 against Sri Lanka in 2006.

Pathan, Singh and Sehwag are all members of the Indian team currently playing in the Twenty20 World Cup. Left-handed middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh was appointed Dhoni’s deputy in a limited-overs squad that now includes three former captains in Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly.

There were no surprises in the 15-member squad and the omission of Agarkar and Patel was very much on the cards for their indifferent performance during the ODI series against England. The injury-prone Munaf did not seem to have recovered fully from the injury while Agarkar proved to be much too costly despite being in international cricket for close to 10 years.

Pathan, who had played his last ODI against the West Indies in January this year, forced his way back in the national team for his impressive showing in the ongoing Twenty20 World Cup. Harbhajan Singh was also rewarded for his decent performance in English county cricket and also in the Twenty20 World Cup.

The Australians are slated to arrive on September 25 and the ODIs are scheduled on September 29 (Bangalore), October 2 (Kochi), October 5 (Hyderabad), October 8 (Mohali), October 11 (Vadodara), October 14 (Nagpur) and October 17 (Mumbai, Wankhede). They will play a one-off Twenty20 tie against hosts India at the Cricket Club of India here on October 20.

The five ODIs against Pakistan are scheduled on November 5 (Guwahati), 8 (Mohali), 12 (Kanpur), 15 (Gwalior) and 18 (Jaipur).



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