Akram backs Chawla but surprised at Rohit''s exclusion

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (PTI) Former Pakistan skipper WasimAkram today backed the inclusion of leg-spinner Piyush Chawlain the 15-member Indian squad for the upcoming World Cup butsaid he was surprised at Rohit Sharma''s omission.

"The pure cricketing reason for Chawla''s selection isthat he is a leg-spinner and in the sub-continentalconditions, he has the variety in his repertoire including agoogly, which could come handy on turning tracks," AkramEspnstar.com.

Chawla, who last played an ODI match in 2008, wasyesterday picked in the national squad ahead of Pragyan Ojha -a more regular feature in the Indian team.

The 22-year-old probably got the nod for his impressiveshow with both ball and bat during the just concluded RanjiTrophy and Akram feels his inclusion is fair enough.

"Ojha has been in good form of late in Test cricket.

However, apart from being a spinner with a lot of variety,Chawla is a handy bat, and a young and energetic fielder.

"These small, yet critical selection calls are takenafter discussions with the captain, the coach and theselectors. I am sure they have made the decision on Chawlakeeping everyone in the loop," he added.

Sharma, on the other hand, has failed to do justice tohis talent with an average of a mere 28.34 in 58 ODIs withjust five fifties and two hundreds in his career and Akramfeels he paid the price for being inconsistent.

"The most astonishing thing for me is that Rohit has notbeen picked. He is such a talented batsman. But again, if youdo not score runs at the top level on a regular basis, you arebound to get the axe," the 44-year-old insisted.

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