Yuvraj, Karthik and Badrinath to lead in Challenger Trophy
Yuvraj Singh has been named captain of the India Blue team for the Challenger Trophy, the triangular one-day domestic competition, which will be held between October 8-11 in Indore. Irfan Pathan, the allrounder who last made an international appearance in June 2009, is also part of the team. Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik and middle-order batsman S Badrinath will lead the other two sides in the competition, India Red and India Green, respectively.
Yuvraj has endured a poor run of form and fitness in recent times, the lowest point being his axing from the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. He returned for the Tests that followed, and began with a confident ton in the tour game and a half-century in the first Test in Galle, but missed the second with fever. Suresh Raina, who replaced him in the XI, made a century on debut to retain his place for the third Test. Yuvraj's lacklustre performance in tri-series that followed in Sri Lanka did not help his cause, and he wasn't picked for the two-Test series against Australia. He was instead named captain of the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy, which begins on the same day as the first Test in Mohali, but the Challenger Trophy is his only chance to get into one-day form ahead of the three-match series against Australia that begins on October 17.
Karthik has been in and out of the Indian limited-overs side where he has featured more often as a reserve opener than as a back-up wicketkeeper for MS Dhoni. Parthiv Patel's presence in his Reds side gives Karthik the option of playing as a pure batsman in the Challenger Trophy. The squad also includes Yusuf Pathan who, like brother Irfan, has lost out in the India limited-overs allrounder race to Ravindra Jadeja.
Badrinath played three ODIs in 2008 and made his Test debut ahead of Raina when South Africa toured India earlier this year. Since then, however, he has lost out to Raina and, most recently, to Cheteshwar Pujara in the tussle for Test middle-order berths. Badrinath was a consistent performer in Chennai Super Kings' triumphs in the IPL and the Champions League, and the Challenger Trophy is another opportunity to further his reputation in the shorter formats. His side includes R Ashwin, one of Chennai's main performers in the Twenty20 successes, and Rohit Sharma, who has recently struggled for form in ODIs.
India Blue: Yuvraj Singh (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Srivats Goswami, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav, RP Singh, Yo Mahesh, Ganesh Satish, Tanmay Srivastava
India Red: Dinesh Kartik (capt and wk), Abhinav Mukund, Parthiv Patel, Manish Pandey, Virat Kohli, Saurabh Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Iqbal Abdulla, Vinay Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Sudeep Tyagi, Monish Mishra, Abu Nechim, Rahul Sharma
India Green: S Badrinath (capt), Naman Ojha (wk), S Aniruddha, Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Kedar Jadhav, R Ashwin, Jaskaran Singh, Abhimanyu Mithun, Jaidev Unadkat, Sarabjit Ladda, Thirumalasetti Suman, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ambati Rayudu