World champions India have also announced the 15-member squad for the next month’s Champions Trophy. The squad does not include two experienced players Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh, and seems to a continuation of axing senior team members. Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh are already not in the team, while Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have respectively quitted ODI and all forms of the game. It shows that a new era of Indian cricket is beginning in which new blood is replacing great players.

[caption id="attachment_807" align="alignright" width="245"]The squad shows that a new era of Indian cricket is beginning in which new blood is replacing great players (Photo: BCCI) The squad shows that a new era of Indian cricket is beginning in which new blood is replacing great players (Photo: BCCI)[/caption]

Gambhir, who had been rumoured to be the new captain of India, was not only deprived of vice captaincy for unknown reasons, but his poor form even made it difficult for him to remain in the team. He managed to score only 161 runs in five ODIs against England and three against Pakistan. Yuvraj Singh, who made a comeback in the side after recovering from cancer, could not score more than one half-century, which shows his sloppy form. In the ongoing Indian Premier League, his involvement in scuffles with various players demonstrates his aggressive attitude and it might be one factor which paved the way for his exclusion from the squad.

Shikhar Dhawan, who made his debut with a double-century against Australia, Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are also part of the squad.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who played the recent one-day series against England were not recalled because of his injury, while Ajinkya Rahane was ruled out for his poor performance.

Moreover, experienced Irfan Pathan returned to the squad and will make a five-member pace attack along with Ishant Sharma and other young bowlers. It may be possible that India give chance to all the five pacers in a match and in this case Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin may see the benches as they are included in the squad as spinners.

India have earlier reached to Champions Trophy final twice. They faced defeat in the hands of New Zealand in 2000 and in the 2002 tournament they shared the title with Sri Lanka after rain washed away the final. India hosted the 2006 event but could not seal victory.

In this year’s Champions Trophy, which be the last version of the tournament, India are in group A along with archrivals Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies. India will play the inaugural match of the tournament on June 6 against England, while the biggest match of the season will be on June 15 when Pakistan and India will face each other at Birmingham.

India squad:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar and Virat Kohli.
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