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November 18, 2008
Kris Srikkanth, the chairman of India's national selectors, has backed Yuvraj Singh to take the Test middle-order spot vacated by Sourav Ganguly, the former captain who has retired.
Yuvraj made two consecutive match-winning hundreds (138* and 118) against England in the first two ODIs of the seven-match series over the last five days, and also picked up a four-wicket haul in Indore yesterday. Srikkanth told the Kolkata-based Telegraph that he now sees Yuvraj as the front-runner to take Ganguly's slot.
"I see Yuvi as a potential match-winner in Tests too. Over the years, he has already shown he's a match-winner in ODIs," Srikkanth said. "There are others in the running as well (for Ganguly's slot), but Yuvi is definitely a front-runner."
Yuvraj has had an inconsistent run in Test cricket, having played just 23 matches for 1050 runs since his debut five years ago. However, the 26-year-old has been a mainstay for India in one-day cricket having piled up 6397 runs in 219 matches.
While Dilip Vengsarkar, the former India captain and previous chief selector, had recently blamed Yuvraj's inconsistency at the highest level on a lack of focus, Srikkanth said it had more to do with confidence.
"I've never felt Yuvi has a problem focusing on what he's required to do. I've always seen him as a confidence-player and such players need a couple of good knocks under their belt," Srikkanth said.
Asked about Yuvraj's latest run of form, Srikkanth said, "He has been brilliant. Rajkot had a batting track, but the Indore wicket was on the slower side and Yuvi had to first hold the innings together. He proved that he can be a match-winner from any situation."
The Indian selectors will meet on Thursday in Kanpur, after the third ODI between India and England, to select the team for the rest of the series.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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