Calcutta: In-form Yuvraj Singhwas recalled to the India squad, on Monday, for the T20 International and three one-dayers against Australia, starting October 10 in Rajkot.
There were four changes made to India’s last first-choice ODI squad, the one that won the Champions Trophy in England. Yuvraj replaced opener Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik lost out to his Mumbai Indians team-mate Ambati Rayudu, the injured Irfan Pathan made way for Shami Ahmed, and Jaydev Unadkat’s left-arm seam was preferred to Umesh Yadav’s erratic-at-times pace.
Erratic performances in the recently concluded NKP Salve Challenger Series, where he conceded 67 runs off 10 overs and a whopping 85 off 9 overs, in the two matches he played for India Red, hurt Umesh’s case badly.
The general practice is for the BCCI president to clear the Indian squad, but with Narayanswamy Srinivasan not functioning in his role, secretary Sanjay Patel did the needful after the selection committee meeting in Chennai.
Senior pros Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir continued to remain as discards. However, an impressive performance in the upcoming four-day match against West Indies A in Hubli, starting from Wednesday, should help them catch the selectors’ eye.
Yuvraj, who last played for India in an ODI against England, in Dharamsala last January, was brought back after a series of fantastic batting performances for India A against West Indies A and a solid display for India Blue in the Challenger Series.
The left-hander scored 337 runs in five List A matches at an average of 67.40 with a highest score of 123 against the touring Caribbean side. He also scored a quick-fire 52 against West Indies A in a T20 game in Bangalore.
With his useful left-arm spin as back-up, Yuvraj is certain to play an important role in the Indian bowling line-up during the middle-overs.
Opener Murali Vijay, who hasn’t set the limited-overs stage on fire, was also omitted from the squad.
Bengal speedster Shami, seasoned Karnataka seamer R. Vinay Kumar and promising Saurashtra left-arm pacer Unadkat were all retained from the squad that played in Zimbabwe after having impressed in the series there.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma were back after being rested. Bhuvneshwar bowled India Blue to Challenger Series triumph with a four-wicket haul in the final.
Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Parvez Rasool, who toured Zimbabwe, made way for Ravichandran Ashwin, with Amit Mishra holding on to his place having taken 18 wickets in the last series against Zimbabwe.
The reserve batsman’s place in the squad was a battle between Ambati Rayudu and Ajinkya Rahane. However, Rayudu got the nod ahead of Rahane.