India's Harbhajan dropped from England ODIs

Indian selectors confirmed Thursday that injured senior spinner Harbhajan Singh will be replaced by rookie legspinner Rahul Sharma in a pair of upcoming ODIs against England.

Indian selectors dropped senior spinner Harbhajan Singh on Thursday from an injury-hit squad for the first two one-day internationals of its home series against England next month.

India's cricket board said that Harbhajan, who missed a recent one-day series in England because of a stomach injury sustained during a preceding test series, will make way for rookie legspinner Rahul Sharma.

Sachin Tendulkar (toe), Virender Sehwag (shoulder), Yuvraj Singh (finger) and Zaheer Khan (ankle) were not considered for the squad after picking up injuries during the tour of England in which India failed to win a single game.

India, playing its first home one-day series since winning the World Cup on home soil in April, is left with only five players from that victorious squad — captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, opener Gautam Gambhir, middle-order batsmen Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli, and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Gambhir, who suffered concussion after a fall while fielding on the tour of England, is the only one to return after the spate of recent injuries to Indian players.

Batsman Rohit Sharma has an injured finger, while pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel have yet to recover from ankle injuries.

Selectors continued to ignore experienced seamer Ashish Nehra and went with uncapped left-arm seamer Sreenath Aravind.

"We finalized the squad after having discussed everything," chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth told reporters. "It is a good chance for youngsters and we feel we have a balanced side."

The five-match ODI series starts at Hyderabad on Oct. 14. The tour ends with a Twenty20 game in Kolkata on Oct. 29.

India squad:

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