England in India 2012-13

Yuvraj and Harbhajan named in Test squad

Amol Karhadkar

November 5, 2012

Comments: 562 | Text size: A | A

Yuvraj Singh took five wickets, India A v England XI, Mumbai, 3rd day, November 1, 2012
Yuvraj Singh makes a comeback but Suresh Raina is left out © Associated Press
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As expected, Yuvraj Singh has been named in the squad for the first two Tests against England, starting November 15. Harbhajan Singh was also recalled while Suresh Raina was dropped. M Vijay was included as the third specialist opener in the squad of 15, with Ajinkya Rahane as a middle-order batsman.

The first national selection meeting of the newly-appointed panel, headed by Sandeep Patil at the Cricket Centre in Mumbai, also attended by the captain MS Dhoni, didn't last long. While it was announced earlier that only the first Test squad would be selected, the selectors picked the squad for the first two Tests.

While Yuvraj has proven his fitness for the rigours of Test cricket over the last month after recovering from a germ cell cancer, Harbhajan was selected for his experience and lack of options once Piyush Chawla failed to recover from a thumb injury.

Yuvraj last featured in a Test in November 2011, (against the West Indies in Mumbai). The fact that Raina, who scored a half-century in the second Test against New Zealand in Bangalore, has been replaced by Vijay as the reserve opener clearly indicates that the selectors are looking at Ajinkya Rahane more as a middle-order batsman than as an opening option.

"We have selected three openers, not four," Patil told the BCCI website. "Ajinkya Rahane has been picked as a middle-order batsman. We have tried to provide the captain and the team management with a backup option for all departments. We have an extra spinner, top-order batsman, middle-order batsman and pacer."

India squad for first two Tests

  • MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Zaheer Khan

Harbhajan, who last played a Test during the 2011 England tour, was included despite an ordinary start to the Ranji Tropy season. He went wicketless in 21 overs in the first innings for Punjab against Hyderabad, but picked up three wickets in the second. Harbhajan was recalled for the World Twenty20, where he turned in a match-winning 4 for 12 against England. He was not considered for Test selection by the previous selection panel following the England tour.

Asked whether the selectors had any specific long-term goal for the team, Patil said "No, we're going match by match and series by series. Every match is going to be important and we want the Indian team to do well in each of those matches. Let's not talk about the season ahead of us but this series against England that is coming up."

The only bone of contention for the selectors was to check Zaheer Khan's fitness status. The left-arm seamer had left the field with discomfort on Monday during Mumbai's Ranji Trophy game against Railways and underwent a fitness test. Minutes after the National Cricket Academy physiotherapist Ashish Kaushik submitted his report to the selection panel, the selectors finalised the squad.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by madras_boy on (November 8, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

@VijayHaters - Can any one list all the matches played by him for India with the scores and Please check the gaps between the games he got. Also, how many were last minute replacements for our so called BIG openers !!!

When guys like Nohit Sharma get so many opps, Vijay purely deserves this chance. Unfortunately, he may not get a game due to our so called BIG openers !!! I wish Sehwag / Gambhir get injured ... Also look at their scores against UP in the local game.... really funny....

Posted by Mohit Kalal on (November 8, 2012, 2:46 GMT)

@Rumy1 bhaai..ye 21st century h..kahan aap 20th century k players k naam le rahe ho..Kaif,waseem jaffer,stuart binny ...nd badrinath is good player bt i think he lacks some skills in fielding

Posted by Mohit Kalal on (November 8, 2012, 2:41 GMT)

haha...murali vijay,i would rather prefer munaf patel in his place..i think he can bat well thn our 'highly talented murali vijay' ,peace of crap :D

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

stop blaming only gambhir&sewag see the others record including kohli also not performing to the expectation level.these r the critical time for them but our batsmens will perform well again,our bowling is still in worse condition,where is RPsingh,praveen,varon aaron,,sree shant or we have to introduce some new FAST bowlers.stop blaming ishant an excellent bowler searching for his recoganisation.we have to cement up our middle order with players like kaif,badri etc whohave some experience &then go for yuvraj,pujara,rahne as middle order,but rahane should keep as the reserve opener instead of vijay.tiwary should adds as the reserve m.order batsmen.this is the time to create some young fast bowlers.stop giving chances to medium pacer vinay kumar in test.keep pathan as all rounder&medium pacer.chances to rohit,vijay, are not waste,keep rotating them.keep rotating PUJARA,KOHLI,GAMBIR as 1down.my 15 wil include badri,kaif,insted of vijay, rahane/yuvi good luck india well done to be back!

Posted by naveenpnayak on (November 7, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

I think Ravi Kiran would have done a wonderful job than harbhajan in the team... Harbhajans inclusion would have helped England to gain their confidence back.. overall a very poor selection...No middle order stability found in the team.. Can some 1 explain me for what has been Harhajan selected for? I wouldnt be surprised if I see England win the series..

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 7, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

Ishant and Bhajji are big mistakes - why not try Pankaj Singh or Imtiaz Ahmed inplace of Ishant, and Iqbal Abdulla or Aparajith in place of Bhajji?

Posted by saidai-bhaski001 on (November 7, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

Hey.. 50 god & 50 bad in selection.. Re-enter Yuvi & Bajji good, Drop Raina & given chance to vijay really unworthful... Y not go with Praveen ? Pujara & pathan..... little disapponting selection :(

Posted by loki_rockz on (November 7, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

This is very sad bcoz not of yuvi & bajji are back. It is for vijay again and agian he is getting chances, instead of him they could have taken raina. Vijay is the worst batsman i ever seen. I think selectors this one member to squad made me so disappointed. Plz sack him from the squad. And even instead of shewag the options for raina getting into squad.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

Why Ishant Sharma, we have Dinda or Pathan as third seamer. Or Vijay for what place? opener? already three in the squad. Last squad had Badri as Middle order. So, Badri or Tiwary was justified. Bad work by new panel.

Posted by Indian_Cricket_Fanatic on (November 7, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

Apart from the batting selection does anyone know why praveen kumar has been dropped from the indian test squad? he was india's highest wicket taker in test series against WI and in England in 2011....fair enoough had injuries and then he was alright...why isn't he considered again when the likes of ishant and zaheer arn't performing ?...

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