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Page last updated at 09:37 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 10:37 UK

Dhoni to miss Tests in Sri Lanka

Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Dhoni says he needs to take a break

Wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni has opted out of India's three-Test series in Sri Lanka because of fatigue.

The one-day captain said he needed a break as he had been playing non-stop since leading the Chennai Super Kings to the Indian Premier League final.

But he is expected to play in the five one-day matches that follow the Tests.

Batsman Sachin Tendulkar returns after a groin injury and spinner Harbhajan Singh comes back in after serving a ban for slapping his team-mate Sree Santh.

Santh, however, was overlooked because of a side strain but experienced left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan, who has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury during the first Test in Australia last December, is named in a 16-man squad.

Batsman Yuvraj Singh and all-rounder Irfan Pathan have been left out with uncapped middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, 21, and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha brought in.


Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel will compete for vice-captain Dhoni's place behind the stumps.

Former captains Rahul Dravid, 35, and Sourav Ganguly, 36 on Tuesday, have been left out of a preliminary 30-man squad for the Champions Trophy as India look to build for the 2011 World Cup.

But Dhoni has been named in the squad for the 50-over tournament in Pakistan in September.

Since January 2007, Dhoni, 27, has played 14 Tests, 56 one-day internationals and nine Twenty20 matches across the world as well as the IPL.

He had complained about the hectic schedule during the recent Asia Cup in Pakistan after India played their first three games in four days in stifling heat and humidity.

India went on to reach last Sunday's final in Karachi where they lost to Sri Lanka.

"In India and the sub-continent in general, we have a full year of cricket and there's no off-season," he said.

"It's tough for cricketers. When we want rest, we should get it. The Indian board has said we can take a break whenever we want, which I think is a very good policy."

A statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India said: "We respect his decision. It shows maturity."

The first match of the three-Test series begins in Colombo on 23 July and all eyes will be on Tendulkar, who is just 172 runs short of breaking retired West Indies captain Brian Lara's world record of 11,953 Test runs.

India Test squad: Anil Kumble (capt), Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Munaf Patel, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha, Parthiv Patel.

Preliminary Champions Trophy squad: Mahendra Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, Piyush Chawla, Rudra Pratap Singh, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Manpreet Gony, Pragyan Ojha, Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik, Subramaniam Badrinath, Mohammed Kaif, Manoj Tiwary, Abhishek Nayar, Pankaj Singh, Murali Kartik, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Yusuf Pathan, Sree Santh.

see also
Warne's Royals win inaugural IPL
02 Jun 08 |  Cricket

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