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India hand captaincy to Dhoni

Source - reuters.com

Wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will lead a more youthful Indian squad at next month's Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa as established stars sit out the inaugural tournament.

Dhoni captains the 15-man squad in place of Rahul Dravid, who opted out of the trip along with veteran batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly.

There are recalls for off spinner Harbhajan Singh and paceman Irfan Pathan as well as Virender Sehwag whose aggressive style is deemed ideal for the shortest form of the international game.

Meanwhile, paceman Munaf Patel has been drafted into a 15-player Indian squad to play a seven-match series in England from Aug. 21 after missing the Tests due to back trouble.

Pakistan's selectors have left out senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf and all rounder Abdul Razzaq from their squad for the Twenty20 World Cup.

They have instead recalled batsman Misbah-ul-Haq, all rounder Yasir Arafat and included youngster Fawad Alam in their 15-member party for the Sept. 11-24 tournament.

Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed told a news conference on Tuesday that selectors felt Yousuf and Razzaq did not fit in as Twenty20 cricket was more suited to younger players and needed agile fielders.

"These two remain our most experienced performers and will top our list when we sit down to pick the teams for the home Test series against South Africa," he said.

The decision to drop Yousuf and Razzaq comes at a time when both have yet to sign new central contracts offered to them by the Pakistan board.

Both are said to have been made lucrative offers by the organizers of a new Indian Twenty20 league.

Established stars from the sub-continent are being warned not to play in the league which is being backed by a television station.

Recently retired Australian pacemen Glenn McGrath confirmed on Tuesday that he had been made a lucrative offer to turn out.

"It's tempting," McGrath told reporters in Australia.

"Obviously, you can make a little bit of money. Probably a month of cricket, get back, give me that fix of playing again - it might be all I need."

Former West Indies captain Brian Lara has already agreed to play in the competition.

Twenty20 squad:

Mahendra Dhoni (captain), Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain), Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Joginder Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Rohit Sharma, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh.

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