New Dehli, August 07, 2007 - Mahendra Singh Dhoni is almost certain to be named India’s captain when the selectors meet on Tuesday to pick the squad for the inaugural Twenty20 World Championships in September.
The hard-hitting batsman and wicket-keeper is the preferred choice of the selectors after regular captain Rahul Dravid and senior pros Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly opted out of the tournament.
Dhoni, 26, is Dravid’s deputy in one-day cricket and is regarded as one of the most exciting batsmen in the game with a penchant for hitting sixes.
Aggressive opener Virender Sehwag, left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who were axed for the ongoing tour of England, are also set to make the 15-man squad.
India, who initially opposed the game’s new format that has proved popular with audiences worldwide, have played just one Twenty20 international so far, against South Africa in Johannesburg last December.
The Indians won that game by a flattering six-wicket margin, chasing down South Africa’s 126-9 with one delivery to spare.
The 12-nation world championships will be played in three South African cities, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, from September 11 to 24.
India are drawn with Pakistan and Scotland in group D of the preliminary league, with the top two advancing to the Super Eights round.
The tournament features the nine nations currently playing Test cricket along with Zimbabwe, Kenya and Scotland.