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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Sachin, Sehwag, Bhajji rested for final SA ODI

Sachin, Sehwag, Bhajji rested for final SA ODI

Last updated on: February 25, 2010 17:56 IST

Having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match One-Day International series against South Africa, India decided to rest Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh for the inconsequential third and final match, in Ahmedabad, on Saturday.

Murali Vijay and Rohit Sharma were included, while uncapped Karnataka pacer Abhimanyu Mithun replaced Praveen Kumar in the 14-man squad.

Ahmedabad's cricket fans will surely be disappointed by the decision to rest Tendulkar, who on Wednesday blasted his way into the record books by hitting the first double century (200 not out) in ODIs, in the second match against the Proteas in Gwalior, which India won by 153 runs.

It was not only Tendulkar''s 46th ODI century but it also marked the highest score in one-dayers, eclipsing the previous record of 194, jointly held by Pakistan's Saeed Anwar and Zimbabwe's Charles Conventry.

Harbhajan, who opted to miss the first two ODIs because of personal reasons, was available for the third match but given an extended rest.

Amit Mishra and R Ashwin, the two frontline spinners in the squad, did not play in the first two matches and are most likely to find a place in the team, as the hosts are keen to try out their untested players.

In the absence of most of the seniors -- regulars Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan were ruled out of the series because of injuries -- the squad is bereft of experience. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, with 161 One-Dayers under his belt, is the only player to feature in more than a hundred ODIs, while Ashish Nehra has played 99 matches.

Rohit also makes a comeback into the team after a gap of nearly seven months, having last played in the West Indies in July 2009, while Tamil Nadu's Vijay will get a chance to stake his claim for a place in the ODI squad.

Mithun was originally called up to the Test squad, for the first match against South Africa in Nagpur, before being dropped after India lost that match. The 22-year-old pacer sparkled in his debut season for Karnataka, scalping 47 wickets in nine first class games, at an average of 23.23.

He played a stellar role, helping Karnataka finish runners-up in this year's Ranji Trophy, with a nine-wicket haul in the final against Mumbai.

Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Sudeep Tyagi, S Sreesanth, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ashish Nehra.