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Nehra, Vinay Kumar included in Indian Squad for T20 World Cup

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ms_dhoni.jpgThe All-India Senior Selection Committee of the BCCI met today to select the squad for the third edition of the ICC World T20 which will be played in the West Indies in April - May 2010. India won the inaugural edition, while neighbours Pakistan took the title last year.

The side will be led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and while most members of the team pretty much pick themselves, there are the odd shocks and surprises.

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are automatic choices at the top of the order, but sadly there isn't a spot for young Manish Pandey to go to the World Cup as the reserve opener. Pandey has had an excellent run in the IPL for the Royal Challengers Bangalore averaging close to 40 with the bat. Surely his time will come soon.

The middle order includes Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma. While Raina is an automatic pick, Yuvraj and Rohit are woefully short of form but do have a month to turn that around. Yuvraj is a must pick for his ability to be a natural match winner, but will need to shed a few excess pounds to be able to give 100% to the team's cause. Sharma, meanwhile would be lucky to get a game, but like Yuvi and Suresh is one of many batting allrounders and can play both roles that of an accumulator or a finisher depending on the demands of the situation. Young Virat Kohli was another contender for the batting slot, but seems to have just missed out, as has Robin Uthappa, Kohli's Bangalore teammate, who has been in tremendous form in the IPL.

Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja slot in as the two allrounders, and should both make the playing eleven more often than not.

Other automatic picks are reserve keeper Dinesh Karthik, who has also been in excellent form with the bat, and the Mumbai Indians veteran pairing of Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan. Praveen Kumar has been rewarded for his consistency with a spot in the team while there are three surprise selections - Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar and Ashish Nehra.

Leg spinner Chawla was part of the Indian side that lifted the World Cup in South Africa a couple of years ago and is a better batsman and fielder than his two competitors for the spot - Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha. Chawla has played a fair bit of Twenty20 cricket, honing his skills in the off season with Sussex. Vinay Kumar, meanwhile, can also bat a bit, and has been useful in the middle overs for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He bowls his military medium stuff stump-to-stump on most occasions and has the happy knack of picking up crucial wickets. While Vinay may not be a natural choice in the first eleven, one might just see him feature later in the tournament if there are injuries to key players.

Ashish Nehra's selection over Ishant Sharma and S Sreesanth has raised a few eyebrows, with the selectors opting for experience and consistency versus the blow hot blow cold variety of fast bowling that the two youngsters serve up. While an in-form Nehra is always hard to get away, the Delhi bowler is yet to feature in the IPL this season due to injury, making his selection all the more perplexing.

The following 15 member team has been selected:
MS Dhoni - Captain
Virender Sehwag - Vice-captain
Gautam Gambhir
Suresh Raina
Yuvraj Singh
Yusuf Pathan
Harbhajan Singh
Ravindra Jadeja
Zaheer Khan
Praveen Kumar
Ashish Nehra
R Vinay Kumar
Dinesh Karthik
Rohit Sharma
Piyush Chawla

File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20