x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sreesanth 'heartbroken' to miss out on World Cup berth

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth has admitted to being "heartbroken" after being omitted from the India squad for the World Cup.

Virender Sehwag is in the race to be fit for the World Cup next month. Themba Hadebe / AP Photo
Virender Sehwag is in the race to be fit for the World Cup next month. Themba Hadebe / AP Photo

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth has admitted to being "heartbroken" after being omitted from the India squad for the World Cup.

The Kerala-born 27-year-old bowler did not play the first two games of the ongoing five-match series against South Africa after he picked up a mild tennis elbow in his bowling arm during the one-off Twenty20 game in South Africa on January 9.

Sreesanth was expected to return to action for the remaining three matches of the series, which is now level at 1-1, and the World Cup omission has come as a big jolt for the paceman.

"I am so heart broken," Sreesanth tweeted after the names were read out by the selection committee chairman.

"But it's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself," the bowler continued.

"I will keep giving my very best to the game no matter how small my chances are..I truly believe in God."

Munaf Patel claimed the fourth seamer's spot ahead of Sreesanth while three specialist spinners have been selected at the expense of a batsman.

National selectors chose Piyush Chawla, the leg-spinner, and Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner, in a slow bowling attack led by Harbhajan Singh, the experienced off-spinner, for the tournament being hosted jointly by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"We took everything into consideration. The conditions, the opponents - everything that we need to win," Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the chief selector, told a news conference. "We are playing in India, in spin-friendly conditions."

Picking an extra spinner meant the selectors could not accommodate Rohit Sharma in an experienced batting line-up that includes Sachin Tendulkar, who will be playing in his sixth World Cup.

Tendulkar is the cornerstone of an explosive batting line-up that includes Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, but all three are a doubt because of injury.

Tendulkar sustained a hamstring injury in the second one-day international (ODI) against South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday and will miss the remainder of the series.

Sehwag (shoulder) and Gambhir (elbow) withdrew from the ODI team as a precautionary measure. Praveen Kumar, the pace bowler, was also forced to withdraw from the South Africa tour after suffering an elbow injury.

"Every team has injury concerns. It's part and parcel of the game," said Srikkanth.

"The current team's form gives us a lot of confidence."

India are one of the favourites for the 14-team tournament, which starts with a match between India and Bangladesh at Dhaka on February 19. The final will be played in Mumbai on April 2.

Meanwhile, Mike Hussey, the Australia batsman, faces a battle to be fit for the World Cup after suffering a "significant" hamstring injury during Sunday's ODI against England. Hussey was injured during his 21-run knock in Australia's successful run chase.

"Scans have confirmed that Mike Hussey sustained a significant left hamstring injury against England," Alex Kountouris, the Australian physiotherapist said in a statement. "The course of management for this injury will be determined in the next 24 hours."

World champions Australia are scheduled to name their final 15-man squad today.

* Associated Press