Rayudu, Badrinath likely for Windies tour

NEW DELHI: Young Ambati Rayudu and veteran Subramanium Badrinath are two players who are likely to be rewarded with national call-ups for their good show in the ongoing IPL when the selectors meet in Chennai on Friday to decide on the ODI squad for the tour of West Indies.

Pune Warriors leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, who has had an astonishing economy rate of less than six through 10 matches, is likely to be another beneficiary.

It is still not clear as to how many seniors apart from Virender Sehwag who will undergo shoulder surgery will be rested for the shorter version.

Sachin Tendulkar, who nowadays only plays selective matches in the shorter version and veteran speedster Zaheer Khan may want to give their tired bodies much needed rest after a rigorous World Cup and an equally arduous IPL campaign.

Even skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is reportedly keen to take a break before the Test series in the Windies followed by an important two and half month long tour of England.

Whatever be the scenario, Rayudu who has so far scored 349 runs from 10 games with a strike rate of nearly 120 has a good chance to board the flight to Caribbean.

"His (Rayudu) wicketkeeping abilities is another advantage for him. With Robin Uthappa not doing well, Rayudu’s case is even more stronger. Whether Dhoni takes rest or not, Rayudu can be considered a second ‘keeper in shorter versions as Indian teams over the years have always had a second option while touring the Caribbean," a BCCI source said.

For Badrinath who had a fantastic Ranji season scoring a whopping 922 runs at an average of 131 followed it up with 294 runs in the IPL so far at a strike-rate of 135.

The talking point in the cricket fraternity has been how Badrinath who was known for his dogged approach has brought an attacking flair in his style of batting. He along with Michael Hussey has been one of the batting mainstays.

Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary who is also in good form this year having scored 277 runs is another candidate but he can be termed as ‘dark horse’. Manoj’s selection however depends on how many among the seniors back out for the ODI and T20 series.

Among the bowlers Praveen Kumar is an automatic choice and if Ashish Nehra fails to recover in time, Ishant Sharma will form the core of the pace trio that will also have Munaf Patel.

While off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin select themselves, it is unlikely that leggie Piyush Chawla will be able to retain his place. Chawla’s show in the IPL has been as disappointing as was his World Cup campaign.

The lanky Punjab lad Rahul who has been a revelation is the favourite after his big-hearted show against superior batsmen. His economy rate of 5.16 over 10 matches has been brilliant to say the least.

If the selectors prefer a left-arm spinner then pint-sized Iqbal Abdulla will fight it out with experienced Pragyan Ojha.

While Ojha has been disappointing in the IPL, Abdulla has carried his good all-round form for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy into the IPL with 13 wickets with average of 6.10 runs per over.(PTI)

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