Indian selectors recall Ganguly, axe Sehwag

Rajkot, January 12:

Former captain Sourav Ganguly was recalled to India’s one-day squad after 15 months as the selectors axed non-performing star batsman Virender Sehwag.

Ganguly, 34, who played his last ODI in September 2005 in Zimbabwe, was included in a 15-man squad for the first two matches of a four-game home series against the West Indies.

The seasoned left-hander was rewarded for a successful comeback in Test cricket on the recent tour of South Africa where he emerged India’s leading scorer with 214 runs in three matches.

Opener Sehwag, who averaged just 14.80 in his last 10 one-dayers, was axed for the two matches but was retained in a 30-man preliminary World Cup squad also named on Friday.

Chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar said both Sehwag and all-rounder Irfan Pathan were left out for the West Indies matches so they could play domestic cricket to regain form before the World Cup.

Eight of the 17 players who were involved in the one-dayers in South Africa have been excluded for the matches against the West Indies, including batsmen Mohammad Kaif and Venkatsai Laxman.

Seamer Joginder Sharma, 23, and opening batsman Robin Uthappa, 21, have been recalled after a string of good performances in domestic cricket.

The team includes four openers in Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly, but Vengsarkar said it was still undecided who will open the batting against the West Indies.

Tendulkar and Ganguly form the most successful opening pair in one-day history with 5,621 runs in 117 matches. Tendulkar is the leading batsman in the shorter version of the game with 14,537 runs, while Ganguly is one of only five batsmen to score more than 10,000 one-day runs.

The first two One-dayers against the West Indies will be played in Nagpur on January 21 and Cuttack on January 24. The teams for the last two matches in Chennai on January 27 and Vadodara on January 31, four home games against Sri Lanka from February 8-17 and the World Cup will be picked later.