India have made wholesale changes to their ODI squad for the ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held in England next month. Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Ashok Dinda, Shami Ahmed and Ajinkya Rahane have all been dropped from the 15-man squad that beat England 3-2 in a five-match series in January.
In their places come Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar, while Murali Vijay replaces the injured Cheteshwar Pujara.
The axing of Gambhir and Yuvraj is the big news, with the former dropped after scoring just 161 runs in his last eight ODIs, and the latter omitted after hitting only one half-century in his previous eight matches. Rahane also played poorly against England, totalling only 55 runs in four matches.
Dinda, meanwhile, has seemingly paid the price for his poor form in this season’s Indian Premier League, while Shami Ahmed makes way for the return of Umesh Yadav from a back injury. Vinay Kumar, who last played for India in July before being ruled out with a hamstring injury, and Irfan Pathan, who last represented India in the ICC World Tweny20 in October before picking up a knee injury, complete India’s pace quintet for the tournament.
Dhawan earns a place in the squad off the back of a strong showing in the Test series against Australia and a solid IPL, while Karthik is rewarded for a strong domestic season for Tamil Nadu and is the back-up gloveman to MS Dhoni.
India play in the tournament opener against South Africa on 6th June in Cardiff and are in Group B, which also includes Pakistan and the West Indies.
India squad: MS Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Irfan Pathan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.
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