Mumbai: Selection committee chairman Krishnamachari Srikkanth on Wednesday made it clear that opener Virender Sehwag and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan were not dropped and have been "rested purely on fitness ground".
"Physiotherapist have advised that both Zaheer and Sehwag need to take rest as they have some injuries. It is an honest truth, the fact of the matter. I can assure you nobody has been dropped," Srikkanth told reporters after announcing the 15-member squad for the Asia Cup.
"Medical reports came to the board from the team physiotherapist, the report said they needed rest for injury problem and accordingly after consultation with the board and the team management in Australia, we announced this team.
Srikkanth clarified that both Sehwag and Zaheer have been advised rest by the physiotherapist.
"This is the best team possible considering the fitness of the players and also taking into account the response of the physiotherapist and board," he added.
Speculations were rife that the Sehwag and Zaheer were dropped because of their dismal show in Australia. In the five ODIs that he played, Sehwag could manage just 65 runs at an average of 13, while Zaheer took five wickets in the four matches that he featured in.
However, Srikkanth said he doesn't want to get into speculations.
"I don't want to talk about speculations. Time to time physiotherapists keep taking these fitness tests and we have gone completely by their reports and the board," he said.
"There is no point asking the same questions in different way, because my answer will remain the same," a visibly irritated Srikkanth said.
Besides Sehwag and Zaheer, young pacer Umesh Yadav has also been left out of the team because of injury concern.
The national selectors have named Virat Kohli - the highest run-scorer in the ongoing Commonwealth Bank tri-series - as the vice-captain of the team and Srikkanth said the decision was taken keeping India's future in mind.
"We slightly have started to look towards the future and named Kohli as the vice-captain. The board feels Kohli can be a future captain and it is important to groom him," he said.
The 52-year-old former cricketer also feels overall there is no problem with Team India and they played pretty well in the one-dayers in Australia.
"We were beaten thoroughly in the Tests but in ODIs we did pretty well and if not for a umpiring error we would have gone to the final. But the boys did amazingly well in the do-or-die match. We still have to wait for tomorrow. Overall, there is no worry, it is okay," Srikkanth said.
The selectors have also included big-hitting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan and Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda while retaining Sachin Tendulkar in the squad, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
India are the defending champions in the Asia Cup beginning in Mirpur, Bangladesh from March 11.