|Player:||V Sehwag, MM Patel, RS Dravid, AB Agarkar, IK Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, WPUJC Vaas, M Muralitharan, DPMD Jayawardene|
|Event:||Sri Lanka in India 2006/07|
DateLine: 8th February 2007
India and Sri Lanka get an early chance to size up each other ahead of the World Cup when they play a four-match limited overs series starting here on Thursday. Both teams are drawn together in group B of the World Cup preliminary rounds alongside Bangladesh and Bermuda, with the top two advancing to the second stage. India and Sri Lanka will use Thursday's day-night match at the Eden Gardens and the second game in Rajkot on February 11 to gauge current form before picking their World Cup squads by the February 13 deadline.
Local media speculated that the Indian team chosen for the first two matches, which includes the recalled duo of Virender Sehwag and Munaf Patel, will also play in the March 13-April 28 World Cup in the Caribbean. Sehwag was dropped for the recent home series against the West Indies following a poor tour of South Africa, but is widely regarded as being a certainty for the World Cup. Fast bowler Patel returns after missing most of the South African tour and the West Indies series with an ankle injury. Indian captain Rahul Dravid said he will name the playing XI on Thursday due to fitness concerns over Ajit Agarkar (fever), Irfan Pathan (sore shoulder) and Yuvraj Singh (stiff back). "I would have loved to annnounce the 12 but we will wait till the morning to see how far the three have recovered," Dravid told reporters after practice on Wednesday. Sri Lanka, who have rested star bowlers Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan for the India series, will also use the first two games to fine-tune their World Cup squad. "I would say that we've got an idea of about 90 percent of the people we want to take to the West Indies," said Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene. "We'll have to take into account things like form, experience, players who can handle pressure, players who can fit into the combinations that we want and who can contribute to the team." Sri Lanka's last two tours of India ended in one-day defeats. They were walloped 6-1 by the hosts in October 2005, and failed to make the Champions Trophy semi-finals last year. Since the 2005 tour of India, Jayawardene's men have won 20 of their 40 one-dayers and six out of 11 Tests, a majority of them away from home. "We are competing much better overseas," said Jayawardene. "India actually started our revival. When we lost those six matches badly we had a chat and asked ourselves where we wanted to be in one year's time. Today we are in a different situation, performing consistently. We have grown up as a team and we have put a lot of results together. Coming back to India again is doing the whole recycle. It's another way of saying let's compare where we were in India one year ago and now." India (from): Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Dinesh Karthick, Mahendra Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Munaf Patel. Sri Lanka (from): Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Upul Chandana, Russel Arnold, Marvan Atapattu, Malinga Bandara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dilhara Fernando, Sanath Jayasuriya, Nuwan Kulasekara, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Camara Silva, Upul Tharanga and Nuwan Zoysa.