Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh have been omitted from the 30-member preliminary squad for the World Cup picked by India's selectors on Thursday. It has been almost a year since any of them made the ODI side.
It is understood that the selectors had decided to move on with the next generation and preferred current form over past performance, which worked against all the five players.
Though any of the omitted players from the provisional squad can be picked in the final 15-man side, chances of the five senior players breaking into the squad are remote. The deadline for submitting the condensed squad to the ICC is January 7.
"Seniors were also considered [for selection]. There was a discussion on everyone," said BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel. "But the thought process was to give preference to performers. The youngsters have been doing very well at the domestic level so they could not be ignored. Barring major injuries, the World Cup squad would be from this lot. Captain's views were also considered."
"I would not like to comment at this [whether it is the end for Sehwag and Yuvraj in international cricket] level as I mentioned earlier. I think all of us should be happy that a lot of young cricketers have been considered for this, as a part of the probables. I feel that considering the future after the World Cup is also part of the thought process."
Over the last two years, Sehwag has averaged 20.23 in 13 one-day matches. Gambhir's is 23.58 from 30 matches in the same period. They had limited success in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy, with only a fifty each from six games. Harbhajan led Punjab in the same tournament and managed seven wickets in six matches, while Yuvraj was similarly patchy with 168 runs from five matches. Zaheer has not played competitive cricket since the IPL in May, and was ruled out of the Mumbai Ranji squad owing to fitness concerns.
Manoj Tiwary makes the cut after highly productive showings in the Deodhar Trophy and Manish Pandey has been rewarded for consistent performances through the year, including in the IPL and the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Kedar Jadhav, who made his debut in the Sri Lanka series, is also among 10 batsmen chosen.
Ashok Dinda has picked up 19 wickets in nine 50-over matches, including a five-for against Jharkhand and a 4 for 33 in the Deodhar Trophy final to persuade the selectors. Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav features among seven spinners led by R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Ishant Sharma, who was not part of the team in 2011, might have a chance to play his first World Cup.
There weren't many other surprises, although Cheteshwar Pujara was not seen as a viable limited-overs prospect again. India have picked four wicketkeepers in MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha, Sanju Samson and Robin Uthappa, which has left Dinesh Karthik surplus. Vinay Kumar, who had led Karnataka to three trophies last season and the Vijay Hazare title in March, could not find a place either.
Besides these five cricketers, the selectors have also overlooked most of India's World Cup-winning squad members. Dhoni, Kohli, Raina and Ashwin are the only survivors from the 2011 squad. Barring Sachin Tendulkar, who has retired, and Sreesanth, who has been banned for life for his alleged involvement in the IPL corruption scandal, all other members of the 2011 triumph were available for selection.