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    Default Harbhajan axed; Sharma, Aravind in ODI squad

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    Off-colour Harbhajan Singh was on Thursday dropped while young spinner Rahul Sharma and paceman Sreenath Aravind were the two new faces in India’s depleted 15-member squad for next month’s first two ODIs against England.

    Gautam Gambhir, who missed the ODI series in the tour of England because of concussion, returned to the squad, which will be without the services of a host of seniors, including Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh because of injuries.

    Pacers Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron also figured in the team announced by BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale. The team, to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has a predominantly young bowling attack with Praveen Kumar being the spearhead.

    The national selectors have picked as many as five fast bowlers and three spinners in Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin and Sharma. Parthiv Patel, who did reasonably well in the recent ODI series against England, has been retained along with upcoming batsman Ajinkya Rahane of Mumbai.

    The first ODI of the five-match series will be played in Hyderabad on October 14, while Delhi will host the second game on October 17. Mohali (Oct 20), Mumbai (Oct 23) and Kolkata (Oct 25) will stage the other three matches. Kolkata will also conduct the lone Twenty20 match against England on October 29.

    The team: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, R. Vinay Kumar, Sreenath Aravind, Rahul Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Praveen Kumar.
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