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India name Dhoni one-day captain

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian selectors appointed wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as one-day captain on Tuesday after Rahul Dravid abruptly quit the job last week, marking a generation change in the team’s leadership.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni dives to catch a ball during a practice session in Bangalore September 4, 2006. REUTERS/Jagadeesh Nv/Files

“Dhoni has been appointed the captain for the upcoming one-day series against Pakistan and Australia,” board secretary Niranjan Shah told a news conference after a selection meeting.

The 26-year-old Dhoni, captain at the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, will have a baptism by fire in the seven-match series against World Cup champions Australia starting on Sept. 29.

The selectors also named the 15-man squad for the first three games. India also play five one-dayers followed by three tests against visiting Pakistan.

Dhoni holds the record for the highest one-day score by a wicketkeeper at 183 not out. He was Dravid’s deputy in the one-day series in England, which the hosts won 4-3.

Dhoni’s appointment marks a leadership switch towards younger players as three former skippers Tendulkar, Dravid and Saurav Ganguly, all into their 30s, inch closer to retirement after sharing the job for about a decade.

Chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar said Dravid’s exit took the selectors by surprise but denied his relationship with the batsman had soured.

He said the selectors would watch Dhoni’s captaincy in the 12 one-dayers before deciding whether to retain him or pick a senior player for the test series.

The selectors recalled off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and pacer Irfan Pathan into the side after they were dropped following the shock World Cup first round exit in March.

Squad: Mahendra Dhoni (captain), Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain), Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Romesh Pawar, Piyush Chawla, Rudra Pratap Singh, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh.