Harbhajan, Nehra likely  to be axed for England ODI series

Harbhajan Singh returned from the England tour midway due to an abdominal strain Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

Chennai: Sep 29, 2011

Harbhajan Singh and left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra might have to fight for a spot in the Indian team, when the One-Day International series against England begin from October 14.

Nehra has not played a single ODI match for India after he was ruled out of action suffering a finger injury in the ICC 2011 World Cup, and it will be a huge task for him to convince the selectors, who will be looking for a bowling unit that puts pressure on England.

Harbhajan returned midway from the England tour citing an abdominal injury. Though he has returned to action playing for the Mumbai Indians in the Champions League T20, his poor run in international cricket could create obstacles for his Team India comeback.

In the four-man pace attack, India need a left-arm seamer and Karnataka bowler Sreenath Aravind looks an ideal replacement.

Former India bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad, who is presently working with the Royal Challengers Bangalore was quoted by Times of India, “There have been fitness issues with Nehra for a while now. He has the experience, but the time has come to look ahead… Arvind fits the slot very well. Arvind has done very well for Karnataka and RCB. He knows how to vary his pace and bowl in Indian conditions.”

“He was remarkable in the IPL last season, bowling with Zaheer Khan. The two worked very well as we reached the final,” Prasad added.

Aravind has taken 68 wickets from 20 games in first-class cricket with an average of 27.11, and in the 50-over format he has an economy rate of 4.23 with 28 wickets from 17 games.

The Indian squad for next month’s first two One-Day Internationals against the visiting England side would be picked in Chennai on Thursday, according to Cricket Board sources.

“The team for the first two ODIs against England will be selected at Chennai on September 29,” BCCI sources told PTI.

The selectors will also choose the three teams -India Red, Indian Blue and India Green – to take part in the N K P Salve Challenger Series in Nagpur from October 10-13, the sources added.

The first two India-England ODIs are to be held in Hyderabad (October 14) and Delhi (October 17).