MUMBAI // India selectors have rested Virender Sehwag, the opening batsman, and the pace bowlers Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav from the country's squad for next month's Asia Cup one-day international competition in Bangladesh.
India, the defending champions and World Cup holders, will play Pakistan, Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh in the biennial four-nation tournament from March 11 to 22. Speculation was rife in the Indian media that Sehwag, who scored just 65 runs in five innings in the tri-series in Australia, would suffer for his poor form and be dropped from the squad.
However, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the chief selector, said Sehwag's omission from the 15-man squad named on Wednesday was down to fitness concerns. The Daily News and Analysis has reported of the possible recurrence of an old shoulder injury.
"We had productive discussions with the team management. We wanted to have a clear understanding by talking to people in Australia and we have everything sorted out," Srikkanth said on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan have been asked to take rest by the physiotherapist. It is an honest truth. There is a medical report from the physiotherapist and we went by the report. They have injuries and it is purely on injury grounds that both have been rested."
The all-rounder Yusuf Pathan and the paceman Ashok Dinda were recalled. Dinda, who last played for India during the 2010 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, appears to have been rewarded for his impressive form in domestic cricket.
Virat Kohli, whose hundred carried India to a win over Sri Lanka in Hobart on Tuesday to keep their tri-series hopes alive, was named vice-captain in Sehwag's absence.
"The selection committee and the board feel Virat Kohli could be good future captaincy material. Time has also come to groom youngsters," Srikkanth said.
Kohli led India to victory in the Under 19 World Cup in 2008.