India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad November 4, 2012

Yuvraj likely to make Test return


Sandeep Patil's selection panel is set to reveal their plans for reviving India's Test fortunes on Monday when they pick the team for the first of the four Tests against England, starting in Ahmedabad on November 15.

Though the five new selectors met in Chennai on October 24 to pick the India A squad for last week's tour opener in what was their first formal selection meet, this will be the first time they will announce a Test squad after taking over from Kris Srikkanth's panel at the beginning of last month.

Despite Patil's belligerence on the field during his playing days, he is unlikely to make any drastic changes to the squad that featured in the two-Test series against New Zealand in August-September. The selectors are likely to first get their eye in before starting to play the big shots, especially if there are no fitness worries with the squad.

As of now, there were minor concerns over two first-choice players. Virender Sehwag had a cut on his right index finger, which prompted him to move down to No. 6 for Delhi in their Ranji match against Uttar Pradesh, though he batted for an hour till stumps. The other worry is Zaheer Khan, who walked off mid-over in the final session of Mumbai's match against Railways after seemingly indicating a problem with his groin.

One big change from the squad for the New Zealand series is likely to be the widely expected recall of Yuvraj Singh after being on the sidelines for almost a year. He was diagnosed with a germ-cell cancer soon after he was dropped for the third Test against the West Indies in Mumbai in November last year. Since making his return to international cricket during the Twenty20 international against New Zealand and the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, Yuvraj has continued to take rapid strides towards a Test spot. His 208 for North Zone against Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy on his return to first-class cricket last month was followed up with a 59 and a five-for against England for India A at the Brabourne Stadium last week.

As a result, one of the two reserve batsmen during the New Zealand Test series - Ajinkya Rahane and S Badrinath - is set to make way for Yuvraj from the squad that featured against New Zealand. With Rahane making a statement with a second-innings fifty against England and a big hundred against Railways in the Ranji opener, it could be the unlucky Badrinath who is excluded from the squad yet again.

The other change will be in the spin department. Piyush Chawla, the Uttar Pradesh legspinner who was surprisingly brought in as the reserve spinner against New Zealand, is yet to recover from a thumb injury. As a result, don't be surprised if Harbhajan Singh, who was recalled for the T20s against Kiwis without having done anything remarkable during his year-long hiatus from the national team, returns to the Test squad. Despite Harbhajan having gone wicketless in his 21 overs for Punjab against Hyderabad in Mohali, the selectors don't have many options to look at as the third spinner, especially as Amit Mishra is far from his best at the start of the domestic season.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jonny on November 7, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    Good that he's returning but if he's trying to be the Number 1 all-rounder forget it he has no chance unless he scores a 100 and takes a 5 wicket haul against a strong team like England in the same innings to make a case good luck!! :)

  • Mohammad on November 5, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    legspiinwr should be included as from his googl;ies . spinnies the straighter one but india doesnt have one - if they had i bet would hv taken arnd 15 wickets

  • Mohammad on November 5, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    if sehwag is not fit plz brng rahane instead of vijay

  • joseph on November 5, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Considering fitness, I would go with Gambir, Dhawan, Kohli, Sachin, Yuvraj, Pujara, Dhoni, Yadav, Ishant/Praveen, Ashwin, Ojha in the playing 11.

  • Naresh on November 5, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    NADEEM seems like a young spinner with a lot of heart. Could he be INDIA's search for a good left arm orthodox spinner???? Some of his victims are being CLEAN BOWLED. He takes wickets by the buckets and also had shown lots of heart in IPL.

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    My Choice 1. Shewag 2.Gambhir 3. Pujara 4. Sachin 5. Kohli 6. Yuvi 7.Dhoni 8. Pathan 9. Ashwin 10. Ojha 11. Uadav 12.Rahane 13.Tiwary 14.Bajji 14.Zaheer

  • Deepak on November 5, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    And hearin this Broad ran away.

  • Shibu on November 5, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    I am just foreseeing the pathetic situation, wherein Sachin is forced to retire from all form of Cricket. He got a wonderful chance after the World Cup win. But now, He is kinda trapped looking for a chance to retire. But It's gonna be Worse than Pathetic!!!

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    Laughter is the best medicine and no better Pharmacy than the comments column!! Am glad people are exercising their right to freedom of speech. Makes for good comic relief! :D

  • Ashok on November 5, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    This article makes depressing reading. I wish they would go boldly and pick Rahane for the number six spot. As for the third spinner, we dont need one for a home test unless we play five bowlers. if either Ashwin or Ojha get injured we should call the best bowler so far in Ranji this season and just fly him in. It is an unlikely event anyway. Harbhajan's time is better spent in first class cricket where he can learn how to spin.

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