Raina: India stars deserved a break

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The Independent Online

Stand-in captain Suresh Raina has defended India's decision to rest most of their star names for the limited-overs series against West Indies.

The tourists will be without regular skipper MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan for the series which begins today with a one-off Twenty20 international in Port of Spain.

The trio have all been rested after the exertions of the World Cup and the Indian Premier League while Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag have also remained at home due to illness and injury.

Raina believes the players "deserved a break" and is looking forward to leading a young side, in what is also coach Duncan Fletcher's first series since his appointment. "It [being captain] is a great challenge to me and I'm really looking forward to that," said Raina. "We have good players who want to do well in this series. They have done well in first-class cricket and the IPL or in the World Cup team."